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The achivement of Christopher Smart's A song to David. 1963

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THE ACHIEVEMENT OP CHRISTOPHER SMART'S A SON& TO DAVID by TEMPLE JAMES MAYNARD B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1959 A THESIS SUBMITTED IK PARTIAL FULFILMENT OP THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OP MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of E n g l i s h We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the re q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1963 t I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the r e q u i r e m e n t s . f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and stu d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r - m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying, or p u b l i - c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of English The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia,. Vancouver 8, Canada. Date August 22, 1963« ABSTRACT I The O r i g i n s of A Song t o David This chapter deals w i t h the outlook o f the poet, h i s r e - d e d i c a t i o n to the s e r v i c e o f God, h i s Hymn t o the Supreme Being (1756), h i s madness and confinement, J u b i l a t e Agno, and references to the Psalms and A Song t o , David i n the-.Jubilate Agno. I I ( i ) The Form and S t r u c t u r e of the Poem A Song t o David i s a poem of praise-, a paean b r i n g i n g i n the •whole of. t h e cosmos. As such i t takes i t s o r i g i n from the Psalms of David. Smart prepared h i m s e l f f o r the triumph o f the Song by w r i t i n g h i s Seatonian poems on the a t t r i b u t e s of the Supreme Being. The s t a n z a i c p a t t e r n of. the Song, romance-six, i s used by other eighteenth-century poets, but i t s . master i s Smart. .The b a s i c s t r u c t u r a l device c o n s i s t s of r e p e t i t i o n and the matching of p a r t s of the poem.' The d e s c r i p t i o n of the contents provided by the poet i s not w h o l l y t o be t r u s t e d . ( i i ) An E x p l i c a t i o n of the Poem This s e c t i o n , the longest p o r t i o n of the t h e s i s , i s a l i n e by l i n e commentary on the poem; the i n t e n t i s t o supply background i i i f o r the reader. The meaning of ambiguous o r obscure phrases i s sug- gested; glosses f o r u n f a m i l i a r words are e i t h e r s u p p l i e d from the work o f previous c r i t i c s and e d i t o r s o r suggested by the study of b i b l i c a l and other contemporary t e x t s . The character of David, as drawn by Smart, i s not the h i s t o r i c a l o r b i b l i c a l f i g u r e , though i t has something i n common w i t h the medieval concept o f David. Cross- references t o J u b i l a t e Agno are noted; The work of W. F.' Stead, W. H. Bond, and J . B. Broadbent i s c o r r e l a t e d w i t h some o r i g i n a l study. The c l i m a c t i c nature of the f i n a l stanzas i s discussed. I l l ( i ) L i n k s w i t h Other Poems by Smart The recurrence of s i m i l a r themes and pa t t e r n s i n other works i s p o i n t e d out. There i s a d e f i n i t e r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Song and Smart's l a t e r poems. ( i i ) Comparison w i t h Some Other Poets Other poets o f a s i m i l a r "bent utELize a b i b l i c a l s t o r y i n t h e i r work. P a r a l l e l s and c o n t r a s t s are found i n the handling of a s i m i l a r theme by Cowley, P r i o r , and Browning. A clos e resemblance e x i s t s between A Song t o David and The B e n e d i c i t e Paraphrased, a poem by • James M e r r i c k . ( i i i ) A Song t o David i s Unique i n i t s A e s t h e t i c Achievement The achievement of A Song to' David i s de f i n e d . The e f f e c t upon the reader i s discussed and the success o f the poet commented upon. A place i s claimed f o r A Song t o David i n the top rank of d e v o t i o n a l poetry. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I INTRODUCTION 1 The O r i g i n s o f A Song to David . . . . . . 1 I I A SONG TO. DAVID 10 ( i ) The Form and S t r u c t u r e of the Poem .. 10 ( i i ) An E x p l i c a t i o n of the Poem 21 I I I CONCLUSION . 95 ( i ) L i n k s w i t h Other Poems hy Smart . . 95 ( i i ) Comparison with Some Other Poets . . 98 ( i i i ) A~ Song t o David i s unique i n i t s A e s t h e t i c Achievement 109 > V Throughout t h i s t h e s i s r e f e r e n c e s to A Song to David and t o the Psalms, Hymns, and Parables of Smart, are taken from The. C o l l e c t e d Poems of C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, e d i t e d by Norman C a l l a n , 2 v o l s . , (London, 1949). Since the e d i t i o n of J u b i l a t e Agno by W.F. Stead c a l l e d by him, Re .jo i c e i n the Lamb (London, 1939) i s not i n the c h r o n o l o g i c a l order, a l l r e f e r e n c e s to t h i s work are from W.H. Bond's e d i t i o n T^ambridge, Mass. 1954), i n which t h a t order i s observed as f a r as the fragmentary nature of the manuscript a l l o w s . The a b b r e v i a t i o n s S.D. f o r A Song t o David, and J.A. f o r J u b i l a t e Agno. are used t o conserve space when quoting and thus obviate a great many f o o t n o t e s . Quotations from the B i b l e are taken from the King James v e r s i o n . T h e s i s : A Song to David i s not, unique among the works of Smart or h i s contemporaries i n terms of form, theme, or purpose; i t i s unique i n i t s a e s t h e t i c achievement. CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION: The O r i g i n s of A Song to David The s u r e s t impulse to the w r i t i n g of poetry i s an int e n s e p e r c e p t i o n of the world. The great poet f e e l s more i n t e n s e l y than the m a j o r i t y of mankind. C h r i s t o p h e r Smart experienced a constant d e l i g h t i n the created order; a d e l i g h t which was i n time transformed from an almost h e d o n i s t i c enthusiasm, i n t o a deep r e l i g i o u s c o n v i c t i o n . In J u b i l a t e Agno he says "For i n my nature I quested.for beauty, but God, God hath sent me to sea f o r p e a r l s " (J.A. B 1, 30). C h r i s t o p h e r Smart saw the world with a g r e a t i n t e n - s i t y , and r e j o i c e d i n what he saw. In J u b i l a t e Agno he comments, "For I have a g r e a t e r compass both of myrt'h and melancholy than another" (J.A. B 1, 132). T h i s was not untrue. H i s d e l i g h t i n the m u l t i p l e c r e a t i o n s of the Lord was apparent i n the e a r l y poetry and in.the l a t e . But only a f t e r h i s seven years of "jeopardy," t h a t i s h i s i n c a r c e r a - t i o n i n v a r i o u s asylums as a r e l i g i o u s maniac from 1756 to 1763, d i d Smart a t t a i n the " g i f t of impression" which enabled him to express h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n of the world around him as i n t e n s e l y as he f e l t i t . He d i v e r t e d the stream of sensuousness i n t o the s t r a i g h t banks of r e l i g i o u s 2 observance, and found the channel deep enough (with a few overflowings) to contain the f u l l t i d e of an ecstatic r e l a t i o n to the created order. The Hymn to the Supreme Being, on Recovery from a Dangerous F i t of Illness (1756), records Smart's c r u c i a l dedication to the service of God. He determined to make his l i f e a tribute to the glory of the Deity. This decision changed his l i f e and transformed his work. With some lapses, t h i s dedication f i l l e d the poet's mind f o r the next f i f t e e n years. His l i t e r a r y output, with the exception of the translations of Horace and Phaedrus, was of a r e l i g i o u s nature u n t i l the year of his death i n 1771. In his Hymns f o r the Amusement of Children (1770), he admonished his readers to "pray without ceasing.../Nor ever i n the S p i r i t f a i n t . S u c h was his own practice. His rel i g i o u s convictions assumed the proportions of an obsession, and he was no longer sought by his friends. Smart's madness was a form of re l i g i o u s mania. His insistence on public utterance of praise to God was not i n accord with the norm of his age, but his convictions were no more ir r e g u l a r than those of most of the Hebrew or Christian saints and prophets. Perhaps Smart's compulsion, harmless enough to be sure, resulted from his i n a b i l i t y to cope with the bustling world i n which he found himself. At any rate, he withdrew into a world of r e l i g i o u s expe- rience where he f e l t he could hold his own. Perhaps feelings of inadequacy stemmed from his apparent incap- a c i t y to manage his a f f a i r s , and the symptoms of s t r a i n were manifested i n his recurring mental breakdowns (1756- 1763). The poet bolstered his self-esteem, however, through a conviction that he was the chosen of God, one of the "elect" i n a f a l l e n age. This conviction was strengthened, presumably, by Smart's involvement with the masonic lodge, which i s suggested by his poem, "A Song by Brother Smart, 2 A.M.," and by the l i n e i n Jubilate Agno, "For I am the Lord's builder and free and accepted Mason i n CHRIST JESUS" (J.A. B 1, 109). In addition to his masonic interests, Smart, on the evidence of statements i n Jubilate Agno, took the claims of the B r i t i s h I s r a e l i t e movement seriously, and saw himself as a descendant of the Hebrew prophets. The role he cast f o r himself as a "builder," and as a worthy descendant of the prophets, was that of a reformer of the Church of England l i t u r g y . It meant much to Smart that he was "the Reviver of ADORATION amongst ENGLISH-MEN" (J^A. B 2, 352). His convic- t i o n that his role was to reform the Church of England was so strong that his Hymns were designed with that i n mind. I f we are to accept the verdict of the c r i t i c s , Jubilate Agno was conceived with the idea of Smart himself leading an antiphonal reading i n the Church a f t e r the manner of some Hebrew poetry. 4 His "conversion" l ed Smart into those frequent and pub l i c utterances of noisy prayer which brought about his imprisonment. The poet f e l t himself wronged and persecuted, but he re jo iced i n the convict ion of an eventual j u s t i f i c a - t i o n , "For the hour of my f e l i c i t y , l i k e the womb of Sarah, s h a l l come at the l a t t e r end'.1 ( J . A . B l , 16). He thought of his imprisonment as a sort of martyrdom, and termed i t "my jeopardy." He writes of i t thus i n Jub i la te Agno: Let E l i z u r re jo ice with the Partr idge , who i s a prisoner of state and proud of h is keepers. For I am not without authori ty i n my jeopardy, which I derive inev i tab ly from the g lory of the name of the L o r d . ( J . A . B 1, 3) Smart probably wrote these l ine s i n the t h i r d year of h i s c a p t i v i t y (1759). The thought stayed with him, and he used the term l a t e r , "the Lord d i r e c t ne i n the better way of going on i n the f i f t h year of my jeopardy June ye 17th. N .S . 1760," ( J j A . B 2, 560). Not a l l of h i s confinement was d i s t r e s s i n g to Smart. He was given wr i t ing mater ia ls , and i n creat ing Jub i la t e Agno he found an outlet and a f u l f i l l m e n t . He began to have a c e r t a i n degree of freedom, and eventually the opportunity to garden a l i t t l e , " . . . t h e Lord succeed my pink borders," ( J . A . D, 118). He was able to theorize about his w r i t i n g : For my ta lent i s to give an impression upon words by punching, that when the reader casts his eye upon 'em, he takes up the image from the mould wch I have made. ( J . A . B 2, 404) 5 The further expansion of this thought i s noted by both Stead and Bond, the editors of Jubilate Agno, as occurring i n the introduction to Smart's verse-translation of Horace (1767), I, x i i : Impression' then, i s a talent or g i f t of Almighty G-od, by which a Genius i s impowered to throw an emphasis upon a word or sentence i n such wise, that i t cannot escape any reader of sheer good sense, and true c r i t i c a l sagacity. Jubilate Agno was written while Smart was locked up as a result of exhibiting signs of re l i g i o u s mania. As fa r as can be ascertained from the fragmentary manuscript, i t covers the seven years of the poet's imprisonment with f a i r l y regular d a i l y entries. The l a s t entry was made i n January 1763 when he was released. In this work - part poem, part diary - Smart experiments with verse forms, records many of the happenings of his circumscribed world, and utters his sentiments of praise and adoration. Many images and phrases recurring i n A Song to David make the Jubilate Agno a valuable corrolary to a study of the great poem. It seems l i k e l y that A Song to David, published a few months a f t e r the poet's return to the world i n 1763, was written i n the asylum. That has been the concensus of opinion since i t s appearance. In a recent study of Smart (1961), Geoffrey Grigson places the composition of the Song quite early i n Smart's imprisonment (1759). He asserts that the Psalms and Hymns were written before the 6 Song which was an o f f e r i n g of thanks to God f o r the comple- t i o n of the work. Grigson's evidence does not seem conclusive, and i t i s more l i k e l y that though A Song to David was composed during Smart's incarceration, the work upon the Psalms was continued u n t i l t h e i r publication a f t e r the poet's release. In Jubilate Agno there are several references to the tr a n s l a t i o n of the Psalms and a c o l l e c t i o n of Hymns which would suggest that this work was done at least i n part while the poet was i n the asylum. The c o l l e c t i o n was probably not finished as i t did not appear u n t i l 1765, two years a f t e r the poet's release. On the other hand, he may not then have had a publisher w i l l i n g to hazard the venture. The f i r s t mention of the Hymns which were published with the Psalms i s i n the l a s t fragment of Jubilate Agno where Smart writes, "The Lord help on with the hymns" (J.A. D, 199). The inference i s that they were being composed. Bond dates fragment "D" between July 1762 and January 1763. The next entry of interest i n t h i s connection comes a week or two l a t e r and i s about the Psalms, "I pray f o r the soul of Crockatt the book-seller the f i r s t to put me upon a version of the Psalms" (J.A. D, 210). A footnote by Bond says that as Crockatt had been dead ten years, the plan f o r the Psalms was not a new one. By the entry of approx- imately seven days l a t e r we see that the project was well under way, "I pray f o r a musician or musicians to set the new psalms" ( J . A . D, 217). Three days l a t e r Smart inscr ibes , " . . the Lord forward my t rans la t i on of the psalms th i s year" (J^A. D, 220). The succeeding entry i s of interest i n that i t be l ies accusations of Smart's being ungrateful to those who t r i e d to a id him, "I pray God bless a l l my subscribers" ( J . A . D, 221). An e a r l i e r passage i n the Jub i la te Agno may be interpreted as referring to the composition of A Song to £ a v i d : For the n ight ly V i s i t o r i s at the window of the impenitent, while I s ing a psalm of my own composing. ( J . A . B 1, 32) This was wri t ten during the autumn of 1759, but the reference i s not c l e a r . But though i t was composed i n an asylum the Song bears few of those marks of i t s place of o r i g i n which reviewers then and now have affected to see i n the poem. The f i r s t ed i t ion of A Song to David ran to f ive hundred copies and was published by Fle tcher i n 1763. A second vers ion , with a few changes, was appended to the ed i t ion of the Psalms i n 1765. The next edit ions were i n the nineteenth century; by the twentieth the poem was be- coming quite common and i t was repr inted both separately and i n anthologies, i n England and America. The Col lected Poems-* contain most of Smart's writ ings inc luding his masterpiece, but the most enjoyable text to read, and the 8 one with the most extensive notes, i s the l i m i t e d e d i t i o n hy J.B. Broadbent (I960). 9 FOOTNOTES 0 C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, Hymns f o r the Amusement of C h i l d r e n . 3rd ed. 1.775, Oxford:, F a c s . , 1947 XVIII . 2 W.F. Stead (ed.), H e j o i c e i n the Lamb; A Song from Bedlam. London: 1939, p.25. \ . C a l l a n (ed.), The C o l l e c t e d Poems, of C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, London: The Muses L i b r a r y , 1941. : ' " CHAPTER I I A SONG TO DAVID ( i ) The Form and S t r u c t u r e of the Poem Smart s a i d i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n to A Song t o -^avid t h a t i t was "A poem composed i n a s p i r i t of a f f e c t i o n and thankfulness to the g r e a t author of The Book of G r a t i t u d e , which i s the Psalms of David the King." Smart was f u l l of the Psalms as he wrote the Song. He had been working on a v e r s i f i c a t i o n of them f o r s e v e r a l years and was completing t h a t work. In J u b i l a t e Agno Smart r e f e r s t o "a psalm of my own composing." T h i s may w e l l be the Song, whose theme i s t h a t of the B e n e d i c i t e i n the Order f o r Morning Prayer i n the Church of England: "0 A l l ye Works of the Lord, b l e s s ye the Lord: p r a i s e Him, and magnify Him f o r e v e r . " T h i s theme was not new to the poet. I t had occurred i n h i s Seatonian poems. In the second of these, On the Immensity of the Supreme Being (1751), Smart not o n l y speaks of man and a l l animate nature as p r a i s i n g the D e i t y , but of the inanimate e a r t h doing so as w e l l : Oh! cou'd I'search the bosom of the sea, Down the great depth descending; there thy works Wou'd a l s o speak thy r e s i d e n c e ; and there Wou'd I thy servant, l i k e the s t i l l profound, A s t o n i s h ' d i n t o s i l e n c e muse thy p r a i s e ! The thought i s continued w i t h the l i n e s : 11 Yet man a t home, w i t h i n h i m s e l f , might f i n d The D e i t y immense, and i n that frame So f e a r f u l l y , so wonderfully made, See and adore h i s providence and pow'r - In the l a s t l i n e s of the poem, Smart s t a t e s the p o s i t i o n which was t o become more and more h i s own as h i s r e l i g i o u s c o n v i c t i o n gained upon him: I see, and I adore - 0 God most bounteous! 0 i n f i n i t e of Goodness and of Glory! The knee, that Thou hast shap'd, s h a l l bend to Thee, The tongue, which Thon has tun'd, s h a l l chant thy p r a i s e , And t h i n e own image, the immortal s o u l , S h a l l consecrate h e r s e l f to Thee f o r ever. ( C a l l a n , p. 231) The next of the Seatonian poems (1752) p i c k s up the theme: Then, 0 ye people, 0 ye sons of men, Whatever be the c o l o u r of your l i v e s , Whatever p o r t i o n of i t s e l f h i s Wisdom S h a l l d eign f a l l o w , s t i l l p a t i e n t l y abide, And p r a i s e him more and more; nor cease to chant . ALL GLORY TO THE OMNISCIENT, AND PRAISE, AND POW'R, AND DOMINATION IN THE HEIGHT! ( C a l l a n , p. 236) I f the Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer i s Smart's, i t a l s o p i c k s up the theme of c e a s e l e s s a d o r a t i o n : Thy name i n hallow'd s t r a i n s be sung, Let ev'ry heart, and ev'ry tongue, The solemn concert j o i n . l The o r i g i n of the B e n e d i c i t e i s b i b l i c a l , and i t occurs i n those Psalms of D a v i d which were Smart's d e l i g h t : P r a i s e ye the LORD, P r a i s e ye the LORD from the heavens: P r a i s e him i n the h e i g h t s . P r a i s e ye him, a l l h i s angels: p r a i s e ye him, a l l h i s h o s t s . P r a i s e ye him, sun and moon: p r a i s e him, a l l ye s t a r s of l i g h t . 12 P r a i s e him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters t h a t be above the heavens, l e t them praise, the name of the LORD; f o r he commanded, and they were c r e a t e d . He hath a l s o s t a b l i s h e d them f o r ever and ever? he hath made a decree which s h a l l not pass. P r a i s e the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and a l l deeps: F i r e , and - h a i l ; snow, and vapour; stormy wind - f u l f i l l i n g h i s word: Mountains, "rand a l l h i l l s ; f r u i t f u l t r e e s , and a l l cedars: Beasts, and a l l c a t t l e ; c r e e ping t h i n g s , and f l y i n g f owl: Kings o f the ear t h , and a l l people; p r i n c e s , and a l l judges o f the e a r t h : Both young men, and maidens; o l d men, and c h i l d r e n : Let them p r a i s e the name of the LORD: f o r h i s name alone i s e x c e l l e n t ; h i s g l o r y i s above the ea r t h and heaven. He a l s o e x a l t e t h the horn o f h i s people, the p r a i s e o f a l l h i s s a i n t s ; even o f the c h i l d r e n of I s r a e l , a people near unto him. P r a i s e ye the Lord. (Psalm 148) The same theme occurs i n others o f the Psalms, n o t a b l y i n Psalms 149 and 150, but i n Psalm 148 the p r e s e n t a t i o n r e c a l l s Smart so mueh t o mind as t o be f a i r l y o b v i o u s l y a source. A Song t o David i s j u s t such a song of p r a i s e . Into i t Smart draws a sampling of the e n t i r e u n i v e r s e , c i t i n g each c r e a t u r e , each t h i n g , as a f i t s u b j e c t and a s u i t a b l e g i v e r of p r a i s e t o the D e i t y . The scope i s v a s t : the i n t e n t , h o n o r i f i c ; the r e s u l t , a sublime song of eosmolog- i c a l j o y i n the c r e a t i o n . Although i t i s modelled on the Psalms, seemingly a r t l e s s i n the e f f o r t l e s s grace of t h e i r p o e t i c movement, Smart's masterpiece i s not uncomplicated i n i t s s t a n z a i c 13 s t r u c t u r e or simple i n i t s theme. The complexity and int e n s e compression of the i n t e r n a l s t r u c t u r e of the Song may appear as u n d i s c i p l i n e d wandering at a c a s u a l glance. But a c a r e f u l study r e v e a l s an exact c o n t r o l . The s t a n z a i c p a t t e r n of A Song to David i s romance 2 s i x , a f a i r l y common one i n the century. Smart uses i t a l s o i n some o f h i s Hymns, but there i t i s seldom as s u c c e s s f u l , l a r g e l y because the rhythm does not c a r r y the reader forward as i t so i r r e s i s t i b l y does i n the Song. The syntax of much of Smart's poetry, not only of the Song, and indeed o f some of h i s prose works such as The Midwife, i s f r e q u e n t l y i n v e r t e d and complex. Such i n v e r s i o n was common i n the age, but Smart uses i t to good e f f e c t i n the Song. He uses a c t i v e verbs i n the present tense, p a r t i c - u l a r l y i n the Ad o r a t i o n stanzas. T h i s helps to g i v e the f e e l i n g of immediacy which i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t of the experience of the poem. In t h i s context Broadbent w r i t e s : . . . i n c o n t r a s t to the s t a t i c p a i n t e r l y v i s i o n of the Augustans, a c t i v e verbs put the whole year i n present motion - c l e a v e s , t i l t , b u r n ishes, eludes, shuts.5 Although poets of the age, such as Gray and Pope, do use a c t i v e verbs i n n a t u r a l d e s c r i p t i o n , they are not t y p i c a l of t h i s s o r t of d e v o t i o n a l poetry. The form of the stanza, which i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t of Smart's best work, was not invented by him, though he was one of i t s most s u c c e s s f u l exponents, and he c e r t a i n l y gave i t new l i f e . He used i t , f o r i n s t a n c e , i n t h i r t y - t h r e e of h i s t r a n s l a t i o n s o f the Psalms. 14 He used i t i n s e v e r a l of h i s Hymns. But other w r i t e r s used i t a l s o . The most notable example, of course, i s t h a t of The B e n e d i c i t e Paraphrased, a poem known to,,be by M e r r i c k but so much i n the form, s t y l e and manner of Smart, and p a r t i c u l a r l y o f A Song t o ^ a v i d , as t o e l i c i t from Robert B r i t t a i n a s e r i o u s a t t r i b u t i o n of i t to Smart, (PMLA, March, 1941). A .D . M c K i l l o p pointed out i t s r e a l author i n the same organ, but not u n t i l June, 1943. In the 1765 e d i t i o n of the poems there i s an advertisement t o the e f f e c t t h a t " t h i s Song i s allowed by Mr. Smart's j u d i c i o u s F r i e n d s and enemies to be the best p i e c e ever made p u b l i c by him, i t s c h i e f f a u l t being the exact R e g u l a r i t y and Method wi t h which i t i s conducted." Whether or not such r e g u l a r i t y be a f a u l t , i t i s very much i n evidence. R.D. Havens notes the complexity of numerical o r g a n i z a t i o n with which the Song i s interwoven: The Song begins w i t h three stanzas o f i n v o c a t i o n , which are followed by f o u r t e e n (twice seven) des- c r i b i n g David, by nine ( t h r i c e three) which g i v e the s u b j e c t s of which he s i n g s , and by three r e c o u n t i n g the r e s u l t s , of h i s s i n g i n g ; then comes a group of nine c o n s i s t i n g of an i n t r o d u c t o r y stanza; seven devoted t o the seven " p i l l a r s of the Lord," and a concluding stanza; then an i n t r o d u c - t i o n , a group of nine stanzas t h a t summarizes the B i b l i c a l moral code, and a c o n c l u s i o n ; then a stanza i n t r o d u c t o r y t o the three groups that f o l l o w , each of seven stanzas d e a l i n g w i t h adora- t i o n ; and f i n a l l y f i v e groups of three which t r e a t of e a r t h l y d e l i g h t s and the g r e a t e r d e l i g h t i n each f i e l d to be found i n God.6 Broadbent notes of the Song: 15 I t s r e g u l a r i t y Is a l i t t l e mad f o r Smart was obsessed with numbers. (Broadbent, Song, p. 33) The p a t t e r n i n g of the poem a c c o r d i n g t o sequences of the mystic numbers, and the great degree of r e g u l a r i t y i n v o l v e d , should negate any c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the Song being produced i n i n s a n i t y . The breakdown of the o r g a n i z a - t i o n of the Song gi v e n by Havens i s not that of the "Contents." Broadbent, i n h i s e d i t i o n of the Song, a l s o omits Smart's argument or "Contents" because i t i s incom- p l e t e and i n a c c u r a t e . I t ignores the s t r u c t u r e s inherent i n the poem and suggests other, more thematic, o r d e r i n g s . I t omits stanzas, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, and 1XXI a l t o g e t h e r . In f a c t , as Havens notes, i t bears a l l the hallmarks of a h u r r i e d and c a r e l e s s job, probably not part o f the i n i t i a l work. The s t r u c t u r e i s not q u i t e as Havens suggests, however, and he i s sometimes hasty i n h i s w i l l i n g n e s s to qui b b l e w i t h Smart's account o f the contents. He says: Each of the stanzas LI-LXXI i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d from the r e s t of the poem by having the words "For ADORATION" a t the beginning of one of i t s l i n e s and, as i f to emphasize the u n i t y of the group, the word " a d o r a t i o n " i s p r i n t e d i n c a p i t a l l e t t e r s ; yet i n the argument the f i r s t of these stanzas i s j o i n e d to t h a t which precedes although t h i s preceding stanza does not c o n t a i n the words "For ADORATION," and the l a s t seven stanzas which do c o n t a i n the words "For ADORATION" are t r e a t e d as i f they were independent of the preceding f o u r t e e n . (Havens, p. 179) 16 One i s i n c l i n e d t o agree w i t h Havens t h a t Smart i s n e i t h e r c l e a r nor complete i n h i s "Contents," hut when he e l a b o r - a t e s , Havens betrays h i s weak p o i n t : The next stanza, beginning "PRAISE above a l l , " announces the theme of the three f o l l o w i n g groups, each of seven stanzas c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to one another and s e t o f f from the remaining verses by v e r b a l r e p e t i t i o n and by thought. Each of these twenty-one stanzas has the words "For ADORATION" a t the beginning o f one of i t s l i n e s . Throughout the l a s t seven stanzas these words come i n the f i r s t l i n e , where they are l i k e w i s e found i n the i n t r o d u c t o r y stanza of the f i r s t group and the concluding stanza o f the second. (Havens, p. 181) Here the i n t e n t on c o n s t r u c t i n g p a t t e r n s of three and seven, perhaps Smart's i n t e r e s t , but d e f i n i t e l y Havens' pas s i o n , l e a d s the c r i t i c a s t r a y . These twenty-one stanzas are r e l a t e d i n theme, and the s t r u c t u r a l f a c t o r of the r e p e t i t i o n of the words "For ADORATION." But the i n t e r n a l s t r u c t u r e o f the twenty-one-stanza group i s not i n groups of seven. Smart l i n k s stanzas 1 and L I as "The transcendent v i r t u e o f p r a i s e and a d o r a t i o n . " The two stanzas do d e a l with these q u a l i t i e s . Then Smart l i s t s "An e x e r c i s e upon the seasons, and the r i g h t use of them, v e r . 52 t o 64." T h i s " e x e r c i s e " i s p r o p e r l y v e r s e s L I I to LXIII i n c l u s i v e . Havens says i n a footnote that Smart ignores LXIY. Perhaps the d i f f e r e n c e was a s l i p made while n o t i n g down the Contents i n a hurry. Be t h a t as i t may, the twelve stanzas are q u i t e c l e a r l y separated by the su b j e c t matter - the f o u r seasons as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of 17 a d o r a t i o n . S t r u c t u r a l l y , the group i s separate a l s o i n b e i n g unique i n i t s s l i d i n g s c a l e of the phrase "For ADORATION" which as Havens and other c r i t i c s have noted, occurs i n l i n e one of stanza L I I , l i n e two of L I I I , and so- on through the group of twelve. Next come e i g h t stanzas w i t h the phrase "For ADORATION" i n the f i r s t l i n e . These can be d i v i d e d i n t o groups of one and seven, i f t h a t i s meaningful. The s u b j e c t of the f i r s t , stanza LXIV, i s David, t h a t of the next seven, t h i n g s of the e a r t h as s u b j e c t s of a d o r a t i o n , and as an e x e r c i s e on subduing the senses. C l e a r l y Havens' enthusiasm f o r numbers, (Broadbent suggests t h a t Smart's p a s s i o n f o r numbers i s a l i t t l e mad), has c a r r i e d him away. In A Song to David, as i n J u b i l a t e Agno, r e p e t i t i o n i s one of the e s s e n t i a l s t r u c t u r a l d evices used to gather the poem i n t o c l u s t e r s upon the s t r i n g which i s the theme of p r a i s e . Besides the obvious grouping of the " a d o r a t i o n " stanzas, v a r i o u s other groups are l i n k e d by s t r u c t u r a l de- v i c e s . Stanzas V to XVI are l i n k e d i n that each of them commences with, and d i s c o u r s e s upon, one of the commendatory a d j e c t i v e s a p p l i e d t o David i n stanza TV. The next nine stanzas depend upon the one verb "sung" i n stanza XVIII which serves f o r the succeding e i g h t . "He sung of God .... Angels .... Of man .... The World .... Trees .... Of fowl .... Of f i s h e s .... Of beasts ..." and "Of gems." The stanzas from XXXI to XXXVII are l i n k e d by the use of 18 the Greek l e t t e r s which are introduced i n stanza XXX as "The p i l l a r s o f the Lord." As C h r i s t o p h e r D e v l i n p o i n t s 7 out, the seven p i l l a r s appear i n Proverbs. The r e f e r e n c e i s not, however, as h i s p r i n t e r has put i t , to Proverbs XI, but to chapter nine of t h a t book; "Wisdom hath b u i l d e d her house, she hath hewn out her seven p i l l a r s " (Proverbs IX,1). There i s another r e f e r e n c e to the p i l l a r s i n Samuel, " . . . f o r the p i l l a r s o f the e a r t h are the LORD'S, and he hath s e t the world upon them" (I Samuel 2:8). F i n a l l y , f o l l o w i n g the stanzas on a d o r a t i o n are f i v e groups of t h r e e . Each group i s h e l d together by i t s e x p l o r a t i o n of a c e r t a i n a t t r i b u t e being a p p l i e d t o t h i n g s of the e a r t h i n the f i r s t two stanzas, and r e a p p l i e d to some r e l i g i o u s or d e v o t i o n a l i n t e r e s t i n the t h i r d . A Song to David i s complex i n theme as w e l l as s t r u c t u r e . The themes are seldom d i s t i n c t and o f t e n over- l a p . In the opening stanzas Smart h a i l s David as poet and hero; p r a i s e f o r the D e i t y , both by Smart and David, i s interwoven w i t h the p r a i s e o f f e r e d by the r e s t of the cr e a t e d order throughout the remainder of the poem. But the David whom Smart rev e r e s and emulates i s not the David of the Old Testament. His c h a r a c t e r has been modified, even t r a n s f i g u r e d . C h r i s t o p h e r Smart's view of b i b l i c a l h i s t o r y and the Hebraic laws a l s o underwent m o d i f i c a t i o n , always toward a more " C h r i s t i a n , " t h at i s a more l i b e r a l or New Testament p o s i t i o n . Robert B r i t t a i n 19 says: C h r i s t o p h e r Smart's g r e a t e s t 'hero,' whom he admired both as man and as poet, i s a composite f i g u r e made up of the v a r i o u s P s a l m i s t s and other B i b l i c a l w r i t e r s and c a l l e d by him David.8 C e r t a i n l y Smart's view was modified by h i s r e a d i n g of Delany's An H i s t o r i c a l Account of the L i f e and Reign of David, K i n g of I s r a e l , ^ i n which s e v e r a l of the events of the l i f e of David are g i v e n an unusual i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . A Song t o David i s a poem of p r a i s e , a paean b r i n g - i n g i n the whole of the cosmos, an attempt a t the expre s s i o n of the u n i v e r s a l indebtedness of the created order t o the Almighty. I t i s the r e c o r d pf a p i e t y which f o r t h a t time was j o y f u l and assured. There i s i n i t none of the melancholy and dismal f e a r and r e l i g i o u s observance that was manifested by Dr. Johnson, f o r example. The poem i s calm and p e a c e f u l . There i s none of the d i s o r d e r of J u b i l a t e Agno, none of the q u e s t i o n i n g of the D i v i n e order t o be found i n some of the e a r l i e r poems. In i t , Smart r e a l i z e s and makes apparent an acceptance of the s t a t e of God's c r e a t e d world. I t i s a j o y f u l u t t e r a n c e , f i l l e d w ith the happiness of a conscious harmony and peace. I t i s the peace which i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the man of God f i n a l l y overcoming the snares of the world. . In the Song there i s such an untroubled acquiescence as might have been f e l t by S a i n t F r a n c i s . FOOTNOTES 20 E.G. Ainsworth & G.E. Noyes, "Smart: A B i o g r a p h i c a l and C r i t i c a l Study," U n i v e r s i t y of M i s s o u r i S t u d i e s . XVIII, #4, M i s s o u r i , 1943, p. 113-114. 2 Romance-six i s a common metre i n E n g l i s h poetry. The p a t t e r n ' o f s y l l a b l e s i n the l i n e i s 886, 886, the rhyme- scheme i s a a b c c b . 3 -M.B. Broadbent, A Song to David, Cambridge: I960, p. XX. 4 T h i s stanza i s used i n Psalms number I, V I I I , XVI, XVIII, XIX, XXVIII, XXIX, XXXII, XLVII, X1VIII, L I I I , IXIV, LXVIII, LXXXII, LXXXIV.B, LXXXVII, XC, XCVII, XCVIII, ANOTHER OF C, CIII B, CIV, CVIII, CX, CXI, CXVIII, CXIX, CXXVIII, CXXXVII, CXXXVIII, CXXXIX, CXLVII, CL. From the advertisement p r i n t e d i n the 1763 Poems; c i t e d i n T r a n s a c t i o n s of B i b l i o g r a p h i c a l S o c i e t y . G.J. Gray, V o l . VI, p. 269-303, London: 11893-1920. ^R.D. Havens, "The S t r u c t u r e of Smart's Song to David," i n Review of E n g l i s h S t u d i e s . XIV, 1938, p. 178. 7 'Christopher D e v l i n , Poor K i t Smart, London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1961, p. 141. Q Robert B r i t t a i n , Poems by C h r i s t o p h e r Smart. P r i n c e t o n : 1950, p. 66. q P a t r i c k Delany, An H i s t o r i c a l Account of the L i f e and Reign of David. King of I s r a e l , London: 1740-42. 4th ed., 1769. ( i i ) An E x p l i c a t i o n of the Poem I Smart a s c r i b e s t o David a throne i n Heaven granted him by the D e i t y t o f a c i l i t a t e h i s y i e l d i n g the p r a i s e which Smart's God seems t o r e q u i r e : 0 Thou, that s i t ' s t upon a throne To p r a i s e the E i n g o f kings There seems a d e f i n i t e statement o f duty imposed. At any r a t e , the image created i s of David upon a throne with harp and v o i c e very much i n evidence. P a r t l y as a t t r i b u t e s o f David, p a r t l y , perhaps, because of t h e i r f u n c t i o n , both harp and v o i c e are e x c e p t i o n a l . In the phrase, "...harp o f h i g h m a j e s t i c tone," both the a c t u a l sound and the f u n c t i o n of the instrument are i m p l i e d . And v o i c e of heaven-ascending s w e l l , Which, while i t s deeper notes e x c e l ! , C l e a r , as a c l a r i o n , r i n g s : (S.D. 1) Although the M.E.D. g i v e s a u t h o r i t y f o r such a use of the word " s w e l l , " t o speak of a v o i c e " s w e l l i n g " i s l e s s u s u a l than to r e f e r t o some mu s i c a l instrument i n t h i s way. That the word was used merely as a f a c i l e rhyme i s not t y p i c a l o f the p r a c t i s e of Smart i n t h i s poem. P a i r l y o b v i o u s l y the r e f e r e n c e i s to a r i s e i n volume s u f f i c i e n t t o be heard i n heaven even when David was on e a r t h . In music i t i s common to r e f e r to such an in c r e a s e i n volume i n these 22 terms, p a r t i c u l a r l y when the instrument i n question has a swell-pedal. Most organs, and other pipe instruments, have suoh a pedal, and so does the harpsichord. The volume of the sound may be increased by opening traps or doors over the sound box. It would not be uncommon i n his practice i f the association - harp - harpsichord - swell - r i s e to heaven - had led to Smart's choice of t h i s word. Nothing related to David i s to be taken l i g h t l y ; he excels i n a l l . This i s true of even the deep notes he utters, though they are clear, "as a c l a r i o n . " II David i s also to "bless each valley, grove, and coast," i n short to bless a l l of creation. The blessing, however, assumes the form of a prayer of thanks to G-od for the creation. Others of the heavenly host have duties also. One of David's functions i s to "charm the cherubs to the post / Of gratitude," a task f o r which his playing i s apparently adequate. He has To keep the days on Zion's mount, And send the year to his account, With dances and. with songs :̂ Can Smart r e f e r here to some form of time reckoning i n the c e l e s t i a l realms? A sortof musical rendering of the Jubilate Agno? He i d e n t i f i e s himself so strongly with •^avid, that t h i s i s very possible. The meaning of keep i n the sense of an observance - to keep the sabbath - may be 23 intended. David's main f u n c t i o n i s t o provide the p r a i s e and b l e s s i n g s t o be rendered i n two ways, "with harp...and v o i c e . " Thus David becomes the a r c h e t y p a l poet, the prophet-bard, the m i n s t r e l . The e n t i r e atmosphere around David i s a h i g h l y i d e a l i s e d and p a s t o r a l one. The concept o f David as shepherd c o l o u r s the poem. The David portrayed by Smart i s not the h i s t o r i c a l , o r b i b l i c a l f i g u r e , though he i s s i m i l a r to the medieval p i c t u r e o f the p a t r i a r c h . He i s a f i g u r e comprised o f the poet's r e a c t i o n t o any number of Old Testament prophets, tempered by h i s n a t u r a l C h r i s t i a n abhorence of v i o l e n c e , and coloured by that account o f David made p u b l i c by Doctor Delany, i n 1743. The dances and songs which f i g u r e i n the l a s t l i n e o f the second stanza are based on b i b l i c a l s t o r y (David's dancing before the people shocked Michal) but here these a c t i o n s are i n d i c a t i v e o f the poet's a t t i t u d e to h i s hero. He sees David as j o y f u l . Smart's own r e l i g i o u s experience was one of joy r a t h e r than gloom. I l l In the t h i r d s tanza the poet a g a i n addresses David, a s k i n g him to accept the p r o f f e r e d bays. David's p o s i t i o n as " m i n i s t e r o f p r a i s e a t l a r g e " i s not u n l i k e t h a t which Smart conceived f o r h i m s e l f , "For by the grace of God I am 24 the R e v i v e r of ADORATION among ENGLISH MEN" (JUL. B 2, 332). The whole poem i s dedicated to maintain t h a t t h i s i s indeed "God's h o l i e s t charge." The t h i r d l i n e of the s t a n z a r e f e r s d i r e c t l y t o the Song as o f f e r i n g David p r a i s e i n h i s t u r n . The f o u r t h and f i f t h l i n e s of t h i s t h i r d s tanza p i c k up the thought introduced i n the f i r s t l i n e of the poem and ask David's a t t e n t i o n and invoke h i s a i d f o r the work. In the l a s t l i n e of the t h i r d stanza, Smart asks t h a t David appear and r e c e i v e or accept the wreath t h a t the poet i s weaving f o r him. The' "wreath" i s A Song to David, and the analogy i s w i t h the crown of l a u r e l or of bays that was g i v e n t o the v i c t o r or the hero i n c l a s s i c a l times. Indeed the p r a c t i c e d i d not end there and i s s t i l l c a r r i e d on i n the symbolism of contemporary p r i z e - g i v i n g . An i n t e r e s t i n g p a r a l l e l i s to be found i n the f i r s t of John Donne's D i v i n e Poems. This poem, "La Corona," commences w i t h the l i n e s , "Deigne a t my hands t h i s crown of prayer and p r a i s e , ( i t a l i c s i n the o r i g i n a l ) Weav'd i n my low devout m e l a n c h o l i e . " 1 1 The p o s i t i o n i n g of David on the "topmost eminence" i s one of the elements of a p a t t e r n , l i n k i n g , even con- f u s i n g , David the man w i t h h i s race and with h i s des- cendant, Jesus. David, as "Servant of God's h o l i e s t charge," i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of Smart's a t t i t u d e towards the e s s e n t i a l nature of p r a i s e of the Almighty. T h i s p r a i s i n g 25 o f the D e i t y i s the poet's prime concern and man's f i r s t duty; "the post of g r a t i t u d e " being that s i t u a t i o n with which Smart was most concerned, as i s evident by the "jeopardy" t h a t he was w i l l i n g to accept f o r h i s p u b l i c u t t e r a n c e o f e n t h u s i a s t i c prayer. IV-XVII Stanzas IV t o XVII form the next d i s t i n c t group. Havens maintains that Smart was aiming at two groups of seven stanzas i n accord w i t h the mystic p e t t e r n i n g of the poem. Since the poet i s d e a l i n g w i t h an obvious group of twelve, the number has t o be made up with the i n t r o d u c t o r y and c o n c l u d i n g stanza. The group i s i l l u s t r a t i v e of the v a r i o u s p o s i t i v e a t t r i b u t e s of David's c h a r a c t e r . IV The i n t r o d u c t i o n t o stanzas V t o XVI s e t s f o r t h , a c c o r d i n g to Smart, "The e x c e l l e n c e and l u s t r e of David's Character i n twelve p o i n t s o f view," (Contents o f A Song t o D a v i d ) . T h i s i s one of the stanzas which E d i t h S i t w e l l found so amusing: ...part o f the amusement...of t h i s most b e a u t i f u l and n e g l e c t e d work i s due to the solemn p i l i n g o f a d j e c t i v e on a d j e c t i v e : "Great, v a l i a n t , pious, good, and c l e a n , Sublime, contemplative, serene, Strong, constant, p l e a s a n t , wise."12 She m o d i f i e s the statement, however, wi t h the r i d e r , "But i t i s the l a u g h t e r of p l e a s u r e , " ( S i t w e l l , P l e a s u r e s of Poetry, p. 77). 26 The unconventional system of twelve v i r t u e s - as opposed t o the u s u a l seven - i s p e c u l i a r to Smart. Though he i s content with the more accepted grouping of seven i n the Hymns f o r the Amusement of C h i l d r e n , he twice mentions the twelve i n J u b i l a t e Agno: For t h e r e be twelve c a r d i n a l v i r t u e s - three to the East - Greatness, Valour, P i e t y , For t h e r e be three t o the West - Goodness, P u r i t y and S u b l i m i t y . F o r t h e r e be three to the North - M e d i t a t i o n , Happiness, Strength. For t h e r e be three to the South - Constancy, P l e a s a n t r y , and Wisdom. (J.A. B 2, 355-358) Having a s s o c i a t e d the v i r t u e s thus f a i r l y a r b i t r a r i l y w i t h the p o i n t s o f the compass, Smart groups them wit h the twelve sons of Jacob: For t h e r e be twelve c a r d i n a l v i r t u e s the g i f t s of the twelve sons of Jacob. For Reuben i s Great.... For Simeon i s V a l i a n t . . . . For L e v i i s P i o u s . . . . For Judah i s Good.... For Dan i s Clean.... For N a p h t a l i i s Sublime.... Fo r Gad i s Contemplative.... For Ashur i s Happy.... For I s s a c h a r i s s t r o n g . . . . F o r Zabulon i s Constant.... For Joseph i s p l e a s a n t . . . . For Benjamin i s Wise.... (J.A. B 2, 603-615) With the exception o f the changing of " P u r i t y " f o r " c l e a n " ; and " M e d i t a t i o n " f o r "contemplative"; and "Happiness" f o r "Serene" - t h i s l a s t a rhyme-induced change; - the v i r t u e s are the same and i n the same order as i n the f i r s t s e c t i o n from Jubilate Agno. In the second section from Jubilate Agno a l l the virtues are i n the order i n which we fi n d them i n the Song; again "Happy" i s found where we have come to expect "Serene", but the departure i s i n the Song where the demands of a rhyme scheme impelled the change. The association of each Hebrew name with i t s accompanying virtue i s , as Robert B r i t t a i n points out, not e n t i r e l y a r b i t r a r y . He writes: ...the associations are suggested either by the meaning of t h e i r names (Genesis xxx), by the words of Jacob's blessing (Genesis x l i v ) , or by some such obvious fact as that the l e v i t e s were the p r i e s t l y t r i b e (hence piety as th e i r peculiar v i r t u e ) . ( B r i t t a i n , p. 299) David, as the embodiment of the greatness of I s r a e l , becomes an "epic prototype of his people." Smart commences on one of his main themes i n the fourth stanza of A Song to David with the enumeration of the attributes of David. The i m p l i c i t commendation i s couched i n just such words as Edmund Burke declares to carry with them, wherever found, the associated reverbera- 15 tions of the sublime. In his Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757), he suggests that through long association some words are always thought of i n connection with the sublime response and that they there- fore always e l i c i t that response from the reader wherever they are used. One of the categories of the sublime with 28 which. Burke was not much concerned i s the " r e l i g i o u s sublime." Into t h i s the Song may be considered to f a l l . There i s a s i m i l a r i t y i n the p r a c t i c e of both w r i t e r s , however, which may be worth n o t i n g . In the Song Smart d e s c r i b e s David's c h a r a c t e r as: Great, v a l i a n t , p ious, good, and cl e a n , Sublime, cont emplative, serene, Strong, constant, p l e a s a n t , wise! (S.D. IV) While a l l these words e x h i b i t the s o r t of connotative extension of which Burke speaks, s e v e r a l o f them,. "Wise, v a l i a n t , good and g r e a t , " are a c t u a l l y used by Burke as examples of h i s t h e s i s . I t i s not unreasonable t o assume th a t the word sublime i t s e l f may c a r r y with i t some such charged meaning. The f o l l o w i n g twelve stanzas i l l u s t r a t e each o f these commendatory a d j e c t i v e s a p p l i e d to David. But, as i n the r e s t o f the poem, the comments on David as the type o f the s a i n t , and indeed, of C h r i s t h i m s e l f , r e f l e c t Smart's r e a c t i o n not onl y t o h i s o s t e n s i b l e hero, but a l s o t o the D e i t y . The syntax and the s t a n z a i c s t r u c t u r e a re so i n v o l v e d as o f t e n t o r e q u i r e a v e r y c a r e f u l examination b e f o r e i t i s c l e a r to whom Smart is. referring; consequently, the p r a i s e s bestowed i m p l i c i t l y and e x p l i c i t l y on the one f i g u r e e a r r y over and a f f e c t the t o t a l apprehension of the poem. Each v i r t u e i s m e l l i f l u o u s l y t r e a t e d i n i t s i n d i v i d u a l stanza, thus the twelve of them, together w i t h the i n t r o d u c t o r y and concluding stanzas, make up the f o u r t e e n of t h i s s e c t i o n . V David's greatness i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n the f i f t h s t a n z a . Here Smart says t h a t he i s : Great - from the l u s t r e o f h i s crown, From Samuel's horn and God's renown, Which i s the people's v o i c e . (S.D. V) S e v e r a l t h i n g s are i m p l i e d here. The l u s t r e of David's crown r e f e r s , o b v i o u s l y , to the f a c t t h at he was con- s i d e r e d worthy to become k i n g o f I s r a e l , chosen by God through the prophet Samuel, and annointed from a horn of o i l : Then Samuel took a v i a l of o i l , and poured i t upon h i s head.... (I Samuel x, 1) The temporal and p h y s i c a l l u s t r e of the a c t u a l crown i s a l s o i m p l i c i t i n the image. Smart accepts David's success i n h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h S a u l and Jonathan, as w e l l as h i s a b i l i t y t o c o n t r o l h i s men, as evidence of a worthy c h a r a c t e r . David's con- t i n u e d achievements i n t h i s l i n e are accepted by Smart, as by the church, as i n d i c a t i v e of God's continued support. 30 VI David's readiness f o r "battle i s one of the Old Testament a t t r i b u t e s o f h i s hero that the poet does not modify. David's w a r l i k e nature seems t o be admired by the poet. The s a n c t i o n of the church upon the C h r i s t i a n knight makes the Hebrew l e a d e r ' s w a r l i k e nature a c c e p t a b l e t o the l e s s v i o l e n t s p i r i t of the w r i t e r . The v a l i a n c e of David i s most p o p u l a r l y known through h i s memorable f e a t o f s l a y i n g "the boaster." T h i s encounter, l i k e those subsequent b a t t l e s w i t h the P h i l i s t i n e s i n which David won the bounty which he p a i d f o r M i c h a l , h i s f i r s t w i f e , had the s a n c t i o n of D i v i n e a p p r o v a l . The encounter w i t h the g i a n t has t r a d i t i o n a l l y e x l i p s e d the many g r e a t e r b a t t l e s i n which David l e d the Hebrews with such success, to the great c h a g r i n of S a u l . VII The p i e t y of David i s the s u b j e c t of stanza VII, and Smart's m a t e r i a l i s taken not o n l y from b i b l i c a l sources but from Delany. Robert B r i t t a i n notes t h a t "the seraph i n h i s s o u l , " ( i . e . D i v i n e i n s p i r a t i o n ) i s not a s s o c i a t e d w i t h David's p l a n f o r the temple - u n t i l Delany's paraphrase of the b i b l i c a l s t o r y . Delany speaks of David as " f i l l e d w i t h the image of a g l o r i o u s and magnificent temple, impressed upon him by the immediate i n f l u e n c e of the s p i r i t of God," (Delany, I I , 5). Again B r i t t a i n notes 31 Delany's d i s c u s s i o n of Nathan's r e v e l a t i o n of the d i v i n e p r o h i b i t i o n of the completion of the temple by David. Delany s t r e s s e s David's g r a t i t u d e t h a t the b u i l d i n g w i l l be completed by h i s son. T h i s i s the "welcome news" of the f i f t h l i n e of the s t a n z a . The condolence of the f i n a l l i n e , though not u n t y p i c a l of the c h a r a c t e r of David, seems introduced here more f o r the convenience of rhyme - not u s u a l with Smart - than f o r any e s s e n t i a l r e l e v a n c e to t h i s p o r t i o n of David's h i s t o r y . But, David's spontaneous g r i e f on the deaths of S a u l and Jonathan, and of Abner i s an instance of David's w i l l i n g n e s s t o condole. V I I I The extreme compression of the l a s t two l i n e s of t h i s stanza i s a good example of t h a t " g i f t of impression" of which Smart speaks i n J u b i l a t e Agno and to which he agai n r e f e r s i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n t o h i s t r a n s l a t i o n of Horace. The poet's success w i t h a wide range of r e f e r e n c e o f f e r e d i n s m a l l room i s here most apparent. Smart was not b o a s t i n g i d l y when he claimed t h i s a b i l i t y . I t i s what se t s o f f h i s work from many of the contemporary endeavours. We see elsewhere (Psalm CTII & XXXVII) the concept of " s p i r i t u a l good breeding" which i s i m p l i e d i n the f i r s t and second l i n e s of the s t a n z a . The "genuine v e i n " r e f e r s to the f a c t t h a t David's house was chosen to produce the 32 Messiah. H e r e a f t e r i t was t o he the "best" o f the Jewish f a m i l i e s , although u n t i l Samuel annointed the son of Jesse i t had been one of the l e s s e r branches. The a n n o i n t i n g d i d not guarantee David's continuance i n the favour o f the Lord, however; S a u l had a l s o been annointed by Samuel upon Jehovah's i n s t r u c t i o n . But Saul f e l l from favour through d i s o b e d i e n c e . David was with God i n a l l he d i d - with the exception of the t a k i n g of Bath-sheba, an event f o r which the shepherd k i n g was s i n c e r e l y repentant. The word "Jehudah" i s merely another form of Judah and i s used as an a l t e r n a t i v e . David's goodness was exemplary, but most memorably so on one of the occasions when he forgave h i s k i n g . Saul had taken an army i n t o the h i l l s o f En-Gedi t o s l a y David, and David was h i d i n g w i t h h i s men i n a cave i n t o which Sa u l came alone and unprotected. Although h i s f o l l o w e r s urged him to s l a y S a u l , David forebore, (I Samuel xxiv., 3&4). His r e s p e c t f o r the person of h i s K i n g was founded i n the f a c t t h a t S a u l had been annointed by Samuel and was thus the chosen o f God. So David cut o f f the hem of Saul's garment, c o n f r o n t i n g S a u l w i t h i t as he went to r e j o i n h i s body guard. Even Saul was f o r c e d to f o r g e t h i s j e a l o u s y and s u s p i c i o n i n the f a c e of t h i s p r o o f of David's f o r b e a r - ance and g o o d w i l l . David's goodness was apparent on another o c c a s i o n when he forgave Shimei h i s c u r s i n g , (I Samuel x x i v , 7 ) . 33 Again David's f o l l o w e r s urged the se v e r e s t punishment f o r the offender, but David's b e t t e r nature p r e v a i l e d . T h i s , a t any r a t e , i s Smart's r e f e r e n c e . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note, however, that on h i s death-bed David asked t h a t Shimei be punished f o r t h i s o f f e n c e . In doing so he was v i o l a t i n g an oath. IX The cleanness o f stanza IX i s , o f course, s p i r i t u a l p u r i t y . The two terms are interchangeable i n the catalogue o f v i r t u e s i n J u b i l a t e Agno (J.A. B 2, 356 & B 2, 608}. While f l e e i n g i n the wilderness David's acknowledged "cleanness" serves him w e l l . Upon h i s word that he and h i s men a r e c l e a n , the prophet Ahimelech feeds them with the consecrated breads from before the a l t a r of the l o r d : And the p r i e s t answered David, and s a i d , There i s no common bread under mine hand, but t h e r e i s hallowed bread; i f the young men have kept themselves a t l e a s t from women. And David unswered the p r i e s t , and s a i d unto him, Of a t r u t h women have been kept from us about these three days, s i n c e I came out, and the v e s s e l s of the young men are h o l y . . . . (I Samuel x x i , 4 & 5) P u r i t y i s one of the main concerns of Smart i n h i s r e l i g i o u s experience. He took q u i t e l i t e r a l l y S t . Paul's i n j u n c t i o n t o pray without c e a s i n g . The l a s t f i f t e e n years of h i s l i f e a r e an attempt a t r e a l i z i n g a complete d e d i c a t i o n . Because of h i s h a b i t o f inc e s s a n t prayer, the poet was locked up. His enthusiasm i n matters 34 d e v o t i o n a l d i d not s u i t the s p i r i t of the times. Dr. Johnson l a t e r s a i d of him to Dr. Burney, "I d i d not t h i n k he ought to be shut up. His i n f i r m i t i e s were not noxious t o s o c i e t y . " Smart's own comments i n J u b i l a t e Agno about r o u t i n g the passersby i n Hyde Park show t h a t he was conscious t h a t h i s ways were not accepted. Probably Smart came as c l o s e to a s t a t e of " p e r p e t u a l prayer" as any man not a c l o i s t e r e d monk may w e l l a t t a i n . He p r o j e c t s h i s own constant impulse t o the s t a t e of prayer and a d o r a t i o n onto h i s hero, and David must be, "Clean - i f perpetual- prayer be pure." Perhaps the example of David's l o v e , which the poet r e f e r s t o , was h i s constant r e f u s a l to a t t a c k S a u l , though Saul sought h i s l i f e . On a t l e a s t two occasions David was c l o s e enough to plunge i n the sword h i m s e l f . I t might be argued t h a t t h i s was l o v e not f o r S a u l but f o r h i s G-od and f o r "the l o r d ' s annointed," perhaps even f o r h i m s e l f . He was u n w i l l i n g to d e f i l e h i m s e l f and a l i e n a t e Jehovah. Nor was David de v o i d o f c a r n a l l o v e , witness h i s many "wives." His s i n i n sending U r i a h the H i t t i t e to the f o r e f r o n t of the b a t t l e t h a t he might be k i l l e d was a l s o a t t r i b u t a b l e t o that f e e l i n g which i n our p o l i t e r moments we c a l l l o v e . C e r t a i n l y he d i d i t t h a t he might possess the b e a u t i f u l Bath-sheba. I t seems l i k e l y t h a t t h i s i s not Smart's r e f e r e n c e , however. Though he s t o u t l y 0 35 maintains t h a t the passions are to he made use of, a r e f e r e n c e i n J u b i l a t e Agno suggests t h a t c e l i b a c y i s most acc e p t a b l e to the Lord, and women the root of a l l t r o u b l e . The poet says: For beauty i s b e t t e r t o look upon than t o meddle w i t h and ' t i s good f o r a man not ; to know a woman. (J.A. B 1, 105) This theme i s taken up w i t h yet g r e a t e r emphasis i n another s e c t i o n : F o r I prophesy t h a t there w i l l be l e s s misery concerning women, For I prophecy t h a t they w i l l be cooped up and kept under due c o n t r o l . (J.A. C, 66 & 67) I t was h i s l u s t f o r a woman - Bath-sheba - that caused David to f a l l . So perhaps Smart i s not completely un- reasonable i n h i s f e a r of the female i n f l u e n c e . X ^ke s u b l i m i t y of David i s again c l o s e l y i n v o l v e d w i t h Smart's own d e s i r e to be i n a p e r p e t u a l s t a t e of grace, to be en rapport w i t h h i s God, a d e s i r e which he p r o j e c t s without much s t r a i n upon the Hebrew p s a l m i s t . F o r C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, David i s i n constant communion w i t h the messengers of the heavens; he i s the r e c i p i e n t of i n s t r u c t i o n , of joy, o f l o v e from the E t e r n a l . The s u b l i m i t y o f the Jewish K i n g i s apparent t o Smart i n the psalms and other w r i t i n g s a t t r i b u t e d t o him. The Song was w r i t t e n a f t e r Smart had t r a n s l a t e d the Psalms 36 of David, and the poet was imbued w i t h the grandeur and s u b l i m i t y o f h i s o r i g i n a l . Delany i n s i s t s t h a t the 0 Proverbs were a l s o w r i t t e n by David (Delany, i i , 326). Nor could David's a b i l i t y t o remain i n the good graces of the Lord, d e s p i t e h i s b e l l i g e r e n t a c t i o n s to both Jewish and P h i l i s t i n e opponents, f a i l t o impress Smart. S a u l was damned f o r f a r l e s s . The " e t e r n a l theme" of the t h i r d l i n e i s the i n c e s s a n t preoccupation o f both the Hebrew and E n g l i s h w r i t e r w i t h p r a i s e of the D e i t y ; i t i s a l s o f a i r l y a p p a r e n t l y a pun, t h a t i s , the other meaning obtains as w e l l , and the sentence may be read w i t h "God" i n o p p o s i t i o n t o "the e t e r n a l theme," thus God, who i s e t e r n a l , i s a s u i t a b l e theme f o r p o e t r y . XI David's h a b i t , one he shared w i t h a l l r e p u t a b l e Old Testament l e a d e r s , was to r e t i r e i n s o l i t u d e whenever t r o u b l e d , and c o n s u l t h i s God. Once again, Delany b r i n g s t h i s out with g r e a t e r emphasis than does the B i b l e , but the f a c t s are t o be found i n I Samuel. Cont emplation was the one of the twelve v i r t u e s t h a t C h r i s t o p h e r Smart may be supposed to have understood. His seven years i n "jeopardy" gave him ample time to experience i t to the f u l l ; and, indeed, i t may be thought t o have enabled him to a d j u s t h i s genius to h i s world. C e r t a i n l y he emerged from the asylum a calmer and more 37 s e r i o u s man, w i t h h i s ever-present p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r things s p i r i t u a l d i r e c t e d and g i v e n new impetus. Smart was acquainted w i t h "the cherub contemplation-.V David's was not an untroubled r e i g n ; when he was not being a t t a c k e d by S a u l or the P h i l i s t i n e s , h i s own sons were seeking h i s throne. He f l e d many times from S a u l and h i s other enemies and h i s a b i l i t y t o f o r g i v e and b l e s s can on l y have been e x c e l l e d by h i s c a p a c i t y f o r d e s t r u c t i o n on h i s frequent r a i d s . Of these, however, C h r i s t o p h e r Smart does not speak. X I I David's s e r e n i t y i n the face of great t r i b u l a t i o n s and c o n t e n t i o n , Smart seems to suggest, i s the r e s u l t o f h i s e a r l y p a s t o r a l experience while he herded sheep along the banks of Kidron, the brook which d i v i d e s Jerusalem from the Mount of O l i v e s . But although David conquered the c i t y i n l a t e r l i f e , i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t he herded sheep here. Within the framework of t h i s poem, Smart accepts the form of s o f t p r i m i t i v i s m a s s o c i a t e d w i t h p a s t o r a l poetry, or w i t h the eighteenth-century c u l t of the noble peasant, which a t t r i b u t e d a l l p o s s i b l e temporal pleasures and r e a l contentment to country l i f e , where a simple e x i s t e n c e f r e e from the temptations and d i s t r a c t i o n s of urban e x i s t e n c e endowed man with wisdom and goodness. The peace which David sought was c e r t a i n l y not with the P h i l i s t i n e s . Throughout h i s l i f e he was a t odds wi t h 38 them almost c o n s t a n t l y . And though i n order t o keep h i s hands c l e a n he o f t e n r e s t r a i n e d h i m s e l f from s e e k i n g revenge, h i s i n s t r u c t i o n s t o Solomon on h i s death-bed were t o d e s t r o y some of h i s s u r v i v i n g opponents. One notes the i r o n y of h i s words t o Solomon: And keep the charge o f the Lord thy God, t o walk i n h i s ways, t o keep h i s s t a t u t e s , and h i s commandments, and h i s t e s t i m o n i e s , as i t i s w r i t t e n i n the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper i n a l l t h a t thou doest, and whithersoever thou t u r n e s t t h y s e l f : That the Lord may continue h i s word which he spoke concerning me, sa y i n g , I f thy c h i l d r e n take heed t o t h e i r way, t o walk before me i n t r u t h w i t h a l l t h e i r heart and w i t h a l l t h e i r s o u l , there s h a l l not f a i l thee ( s a i d he) a man on the throne of I s r a e l . Moreover thou knowest a l s o what Joab the son of Zer u i a h d i d to me, and what he d i d to the two c a p t a i n s of the hosts of I s r a e l , unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jethe r , whom he slew, and shed the blood of war i n peace, and put the blood o f war upon h i s g i r d l e t h a t was about h i s l o i n s , and i n h i s shoes t h a t were on h i s f e e t . Do t h e r e f o r e a c c o r d i n g t o thy wisdom, and l e t not h i s hoar head go down to the grave i n peace. (I Kings i i , 3-6) And i f t h i s were not enough t o d i s i l l u s i o n any f o l l o w e r he con t i n u e s : And behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son o f Gera, a Benjamite o f Bahurim, which cursed me w i t h a grievous curse i n the day when I went t o Mahanaim: but he came down to me a t Jordan, and I sware to him by the l o r d s a y i n g , I w i l l not put thee t o death by the sword. 39 Now t h e r e f o r e h o l d him not g u i l t l e s s : f o r thou a r t a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest t o do unto him; but h i s hoar head b r i n g thou down t o the grave i n b l o o d . (I Kings i i , 8-9) So much f o r David, "sow(ing) the seeds of peace." X I I I C e r t a i n l y David's s t r e n g t h may be supposed t o have overcome Satan i n t h a t he remained i n the good graces, so to speak, o f the Lord. In the book of °amuel, however, David's s t r e n g t h i s put out l a r g e l y t o soothe and t o over- come the t r o u b l e d s p i r i t of S a u l . In a t t r i b u t i n g Saul's u n r e s t t o the machinations of Satan, Smart departs from the s c r i p t u r a l source, as he d i d i n h i s t r a n s l a t i o n s of the Psalms, t o emphasize those elements of the o r i g i n a l most acc e p t a b l e t o him. In I Samuel, chapter x v l , i t i s e x p r e s s l y s t a t e d t h a t the e v i l s p i r i t which came to Saul was not from Satan, but was sent from God to work h i s d e s t r u c t i o n : And i t came to pass, when the e v i l s p i r i t from God was upon S a u l , that David took an harp, and played w i t h h i s hand; so Saul was r e f r e s h e d , and was w e l l , and the e v i l s p i r i t departed from him. (I Samuel x v i , 23) David's s t r e n g t h l a y , l i k e Samson's, i n h i s God. A l l the machinations of e v i l were overcome by David's f a i t h , as were the l i o n and the bear: And David s a i d unto S a u l , Thy servant kept h i s f a t h e r ' s sheep, and there came a l i o n 40 and a bear, and he took a lamb out of the f l o e k , and I went out a f t e r him, and smote him, and d e l i v e r e d i t out of h i s mouth; and when he arose a g a i n s t me, I caught him by h i s beard, and smote him, and slew him. (I Samuel x v i , 3 , 4 & 5 ) The image of the l i o n i s such a one as Burke would c o n s i d e r "sublime," the bear a l s o . T h e i r i n c l u s i o n here i s appro- p r i a t e . XIV David's constancy i n l o v e can h a r d l y be thought to a p p l y to h i s treatment of women. In those days f o r a k i n g , or indeed f o r any r i c h man, to have more than one wife was not e x c e p t i o n a l ; and the number of wives of David's son, Solomon i s p r o v e r b i a l , but David was comething l e s s than, "Ponstant t beyond the verge of death," to M i c h a l , or A b i g a i l or the o t h e r s . M i c h a l was h i s f i r s t w ife; she was taken away by S a u l and g i v e n to another l e a d e r f o r a time. Whereupon David took A b i g a i l , the widow of Nabal, and Ahinoam of J e z r e e l , (I Samuel xxv, 4 3 - 4 4 ) . There i s the evidence the second book of Samuel ( i i i , 2 , 3 & 4 5 ) as to the number of other wives he had. Nor was David without numerous concubines. Then there was Bath-sheba; and of course, Abishag, the Shunamite. To Jonathan, however, David may be thought to have been constant, and i t i s doubtless t h i s constancy to which Smart r e f e r s : 41 How are the mighty f a l l e n i n the midst of the b a t t l e . 0 Jonathan, thou wast s l a i n i n t h i n e high p l a c e s . I am d i s t r e s s e d f o r thee, my b r o t h e r Jonathan: v e r y pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy l o v e to me was wonderful, p a s s i n g the l o v e of women. How are the mighty f a l l e n , and the weapons of war p e r i s h e d . (II Samuel i , 25-27) Furthermore, David's treatment of Mephibosheth, i n the l i g h t of h i s f e e l i n g s toward the lame, i s evidence of a f e e l i n g f o r Jonathan m o t i v a t i n g him, "beyond the verge of death." And David s a i d on t h a t day, Whosoever g e t t e t h up to the g u t t e r , and smiteth the J e b u s i t e s , and the lame and the b l i n d , t h a t are hated of David's s o u l , he s h a l l be c h i e f and c a p t a i n . ( I I Samuel v, 8) David's treatment of Z i b a and Mephibosheth i s a l i t t l e i n v o l v e d , but he shows gr e a t t o l e r a n c e both to the servant and to the lame son of h i s f r i e n d Jonathan. XV That David was pleasant Smart would maintain from the s e v e r a l p laces i n the s c r i p t u r a l record where he i s spoken o f as being l o v e d by a l l of Judah. That he was "pleasant" i n armor we may doubt, though Smart's modified statement that he was "glad" seems more probable. (The NED does support Smart's use of the word, however.) That he was so i n "ephod", that i s , i n one meaning of the word, i n the vestments of the p r i e s t , we may take on f a i t h . David's f i n a l a l i e n a t i o n from M i c h a l 42 came about because he danced before the Lord (and i n c i d e n t l y before the s e r v i n g maids) so c l a d : And David danced before the Lord with a l l h i s might; and David was g i r d e d w i t h a l i n e n ephod. And as the ark of the Lord came i n t o the c i t y o f David, M i c h a l Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw King David l e a p i n g and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him i n her hea r t . (I Samuel v i , 14 & 16) However, Mi c h a l ' s r e a c t i o n does not please David: Then David returned t o b l e s s h i s household. Arid M i c h a l the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and s a i d , How g l o r i o u s was the ^ i n g o f I s r a e l today, who uncovered h i m s e l f today i n the eyes of the handmaids of h i s se r v a n t s , as one of the v a i n f e l l o w s shamelessly uncovereth h i m s e l f . ( I I Samuel v i , 20) David's r e p l y i s to the p o i n t : And I w i l l be yet more v i l e than t h i s , and w i l l be base i n mine own s i g h t : and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them I s h a l l be h e l d i n honour. Therefore M i c h a l the daughter of Saul had no c h i l d unto the day of her death. ( I I Samuel v i , 22 & 23) T h i s i s l e s s i l l u s t r a t i v e of David's l o v e or pleasantness than Smart would have us r e c o l l e c t . The three elements of the human c r e a t u r e , "Man, s o u l , and a n g e l , " are explained by Robert B r i t t a i n as pa r t of a h e r e t i c a l , b e l i e f i n the t r i - p a r t i t e nature of man. F u r t h e r comment on t h i s problem i s reserved f o r the d i s - c u s s i o n o f stanza X I I I . 43 XYI The eminence of which Smart speaks i n the t h i r d s t anza of A Song t o David i s here e l a b o r a t e d upon. I t arose, Smart i m p l i e s , from David's recovery from h i s f a l l . In the s c r i p t u r e s David has many f a l l s and, i n a manner of speaking, r i s e s above each. Delany again makes a l l c l e a r ; he r e t e l l s the s t o r y of David's l u s t f o r Bath-sheba and the murder he commits f o r her: . . . M i l l i o n s have been l o s t i n these l a b y r i n t h s o f g u i l t ; but none, sure, i n any more i n t r i c a t e and p e r p l e x i n g than t h i s . . . m i l l i o n s have f a l l e n , have sinned, as David d i d ; but who ever repented and recovered l i k e him? (Delany, 11, 320) The r e f e r e n c e i s t o David's weakness i n t a k i n g Bath-sheba: And i t came t o pass i n an eveningtide, t h a t David arose from o f f , h i s bed, and walked upon the r o o f of the king's house; and from the r o o f he saw a woman washing h e r s e l f ; and the woman was bery b e a u t i f u l to l o o k upon. And David sent and enquired a f t e r the woman. And one s a i d , Is not t h i s Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of U r i a h the % t t i t e ? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came i n unto him, and he l a y with her; f o r she was p u r i f i e d from her uncleanness; and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and t o l d David, and s a i d , I am wit h c h i l d . ( I I Samuel x i , 2-5) 44 At t h i s p o i n t David almost orders U r i a h t o go down to h i s house and s l e e p with h i s wife, hut U r i a h does not so David sends f u r t h e r messages: And i t came to pass i n the morning, t h a t David wrote a l e t t e r t o Joab, and sent i t hy U r i a h . And he wrote i n the l e t t e r , s a y i n g , Set ye U r i a h i n the f o r e f r o n t of the h o t t e s t b a t t l e , and r e t i r e ye from him, t h a t he may be smitten, and d i e . (I I Samuel x i , 14 & 15) David's complacency on h e a r i n g the news of t h i s success i s remarkable ( I I Samuel x i , 23-27). But when he i s rebuked by Nathan, the prophet, David r e p e n t s . ( I I Samuel x i i , 9-14). However, of t h i s union was Solomon l a t e r t o be born. I n s c r u t a b l e are the ways of the Almighty. As t o the "precepts" of the f i f t h l i n e of the stanza, Delany again makes a l l c l e a r : As c r i t i c s have considered the f i r s t nine chapters o f Proverbs, only as a preface to what i s p r o p e r l y c a l l e d the book of Proverbs. the a t t e n t i v e reader w i l l f i n d a l l the precepts, from the beginning of the f o u r t h chapter t o the end of the n i n t h , t o be only r e c i t a l s o f David's i n s t r u c t i o n s to h i s son Solomon. (Delany, I L y 299) C e r t a i n l y the counsel g i v e n t o Solomon i n Kings i s not no t a b l e f o r i t s m o r a l i t y , though perhaps p o l i t i c a l l y wise. XVII In t h i s stanza C h r i s t o p h e r Smart i s a g a i n p r o j e c t i n g the f e e l i n g of the poet upon the p s a l m i s t . That h i s w r i t i n g s 45 gave Smart, "...balm f o r a l l the thorns that pierce, For a l l the pangs that rage," we may believe. David, however, sought solace i n transports less esoteric. Smart attribues to him a joy i n i n t e l l e c t u a l creation f a r out- reaching that pleasure which David found, a l b e i t mo- mentarily, i n his f i r s t wife, Michal, and i n the young v i r g i n who "comforted him" i n his old age. B r i t t a i n notes that Delany speaks of Abishag as David's wife, thus establishing a p a r a l l e l between her and Michal. This was not an essential c o r r e l a t i o n for Smart to make i n order to use these figures as he does. They were both beloved by ^avid, and as such serve to i l l u s t r a t e Smart's point. The second group of stanzas i n A Song to David i s thus concluded. So Smart t i e s o f f his eulogy of the character of David. XVIII In the stanza, Smart commences on a nine-stanza section ennumerating the topics of David's Song. The recounting of those created things which were thus blessed by David i s a transparent device enabling Christopher Smart to anticipate his own praising i n the Adoration stanzas of the second h a l f of the poem. Here Smart, the poet, and David, the psalmist intermingle. XVII-XXVII From stanza XVII to XXVII Smart i s enumerating, 46 a c c o r d i n g to the "Contents" p r e f i x e d to A Song to David: The s u b j e c t s he made choice of - the Supreme Being - angels; men of renown; the works of nature i n a l l d i r e c t i o n s , e i t h e r p a r t i c u l a r l y or c o l l e c t i v e l y considered, to v e r . 27. (S.D. 'Contents,') f o r example: He sung of God - the mighty source of a l l t h i n g s - the stupendous f o r c e on which a l l s t r e n g t h depends; (S.D. XVIII) The s i n g l e verb "sung" i n stanza eighteen does duty f o r the f o l l o w i n g nine stanzas. Then, i n s u c c e s s i v e stanzas, Smart e l a b o r a t e s upon the v a r i o u s aspects of the C r e a t i o n ; o f man, the world, the p l a n e t s , l i g h t , p l a n t s , f o w l , f i s h e s , b easts, domestic and w i l d , and gems. In the group of nine stanzas Smart i s a t home on h i s own t e r r i t o r y and i s at ease with h i s v e r s e . S e v e r a l of the images i n t h i s s e c t i o n a r e d e r i v e d from Psalm CIV. Here Smart s t a t e s one of the u n d e r l y i n g precepts of the poem: t h a t a l l t h i n g s depend, q u i t e l i t e r a l l y , upon the D e i t y : Prom whose r i g h t arm, beneath whose eyes A l l p e r i o d , pow'r and e n t e r p r i z e Commences, r e i g n s , and ends. Conscious as he was of the i n t e r v e n t i o n of the heavenly powers i n the everyday l i f e of e i g h t e e n t h century England, Smart weaves the f a b r i c of h i s i n t e n s e b e l i e f i n t o h i s paean. The source m a t e r i a l of the poem - the books of 47 Samuel and of Kings - i l l u s t r a t e the statement of the second h a l f of stanza XVIII. T h e r e i n the p e r s o n a l i n t e r - v e n t i o n of the l o r d e f f e c t s a l l establishment, or change, of temporal sway. Smart's was a v e r y v i s u a l imagination, as the c l a r i t y o f h i s images makes apparent and one can c o r r e l a t e t h i s s t anza v e r y w e l l with the crude i l l u s t r a t i o n s of the world dependent from the heavens which so o f t e n accompany e a r l y e d i t i o n s of Paradise L o s t . XIX Smart's p o s i t i v e a s s e r t i o n s on the s u b j e c t of angels were not i n accord w i t h orthodox Church of England b e l i e f s . They savoured r a t h e r too much of the P o p i s h elements which the laws of the land were s t i l l prepared to suppress. Smart's treatment o f angels i n the poem, and the i n v o c a t i o n of the dead were among those elements not c a l c u l a t e d t o appeal to the orthodox eighteenth-century mind. Robert B r i t t a i n suggests t h a t Smart's views on the i s u b j e c t of angels are h e r e t i c a l (p. 287). Smart i m p l i e s elsewhere (Hymn IX and XXIV) t h a t angels are employed as heavenly messengers - the " m i n i s t r y " of l i n e one of t h i s s t a n z a . What t h e i r reward, "meed" i s , however, he does not s p e c i f y . Though perhaps i t i s the b l e s s i n g s of the next l i n e . The image of them w a i t i n g , "with t h e i r c i t t e r n s , " r e c a l l s the e a r l y task of David to soothe the 48 t r o u b l e d s p i r i t of S a u l w i t h h i s p l a y i n g . One hopes that they are not i n the same p e r i l t h a t David was. Again the scene i s M i l t o n i c , most r e m i n i s c e n t of the i n c r e d i b l e comic opera scene i n the t h i r d book of Paradise Lost or perhaps i n a Masque. C e r t a i n l y the v i s i o n o f M i c h a e l bowing wi t h h i s m i l l i o n s , may s t r i k e the modern reader as a v i s u a l image of a humorous r a t h e r than an awe- i n s p i r i n g k i n d . The concept of the seraph or the cherub having a spuse or mate i s not o n l y u n c a n o n i c a l but h e r e t i c a l . I t appears, however, i n some of Smart's hymns a l s o . ^ Perhaps some precedent may be found f o r Smart's a t t r i b u t i o n of sex to the c e l e s t i a l beings i n P a r a d i s e L o s t : Love not the heav'nly S p i r i t s , and how t h e i r Love Express they, by l o o k s only, or do they mix I r r a d i a n c e , v i r t u a l or immediate touch? To whom the Angel w i t h a s m i l e that glow'd C e l e s t i a l r o s y r ed, Love's proper hue, Answer'd. Let i t s u f f i c e thee t h a t thou know'st Us happy, and without Love no happiness. (P.L. V I I I , 615-621) Here M i l t o n b r i n g s up the q u e s t i o n and does not e n t i r e l y d i s m i s s the p o s s i b i l i t y . However, Smart's v i v i d imagina- t i o n could have conceived the i d e a without any conscious source. XX The man d e p i c t e d i n stanza XX i s more Adam i n the garden than man f a l l e n and s i n n i n g . The establishment of 49 man i n the garden with dominion over the beasts, "To r u l e the l a n d , and b r i n y broad," r e c a l l s Genesis. Man as the semblance of God i s a l s o a concept from Genesis: So God created man i n h i s own image, i n the image of God created he him; (Genesis i , 27.) That t o the C h r i s t i a n man i s the " e f f e c t of God and Love" i s obvious. The theme behind the f i n a l l i n e s of the stan z a occurs again and a g a i n i n the work of Smart and i n t h a t of other C h r i s t i a n w r i t e r s ; that man i s created t o serve God. The f i f t h l i n e i s more s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned w i t h man's duty t o p r a i s e the c r e a t o r - the impulse behind t h i s poem. The s i x t h r e c a l l s the Old Testament l e a d e r s who were "heroes i n h i s cause," and, s p e c i f i c a l l y , David. XXI The c r e a t i o n of the world, the p l a n e t s , l i g h t and shade i s recorded i n stanza XXI. Smart i s not here d e a l - i n g with the c r e a t i o n i n the order of Genesis, though he does so l a t e r . The c l u s t e r i n g spheres are r a t h e r the pl a n e t s than the more remote heavenly bodies. In a l l p r o b a b i l i t y the poet has i n mind contemporary diagrams of the p l a n e t s r e p l e t e with moons, or models of the s o l a r system. The " g l o r i o u s l i g h t " of the second l i n e a n t i c i p a t e s the crescendo i n which the poem culminates: 50 G l o r i o u s the sun i n mid career; G l o r i o u s th'assembled f i r e s appear, G l o r i o u s the comet's t r a i n : (S.D. LXXXVI) The t h i r d l i n e , w i t h i t s attempted a l l - i n c l u s i v e n e s s of landscape, presents, through Smart's choice of idiom, a p a s t o r a l scene. The remainder of the stanza c r e a t e s q u i t e a d i f f e r e n t image. This i s one of the a p h o r i s t i c , almost epigramatic l i t t l e statements with which the poet i n t e r - sperses w r i t i n g of a f a r more p r o s a i c tenor. The l i t e r a l r e f e r e n c e i s presumably t o the depths of the ocean bed. But the l i n e i s not t i e d to a s p e c i f i c r e f e r e n c e and r e f e r s by a f a i r l y common extension t o a l l t h a t i s v e i l e d and mysterious. P a r t of the charm of the l i n e s l i e s i n the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n and the suggestion o f preference f o r s e c l u s i o n . The source i s b i b l i c a l . Wisdom i s the daughter of God by whom he conceived of the world, and the " d i s c r e t i o n " with which He s t r e t c h e d out the heavens. (Proverbs i i i , VII) In Jeremiah i t i s w r i t t e n : He hath made the e a r t h by h i s power, he hath e s t a b l i s h e d the world by h i s wisdom, and hath s t r e t c h e d out the heavens by h i s d i s c r e t i o n . (Jeremiah x, 12) 51 XXII The d e s c r i p t i o n o f the f l o r a i s r e p l e t e w i t h r e f e r e n c e s . The " v i r t u o u s r o o t " of the f i r s t l i n e of the stanza b r i n g s t o mind Smart's i n t e r e s t s i n the v a r i e d s c i e n t i f i c f i e l d s of popular i n t e r e s t i n h i s day - the work of the Royal S o c i e t y , contemporaneous d i s c o v e r i e s i n medicine and p h y s i c s - which are r e f l e c t e d i n J u b i l a t e Agno, XVI. The "gem" of l i n e two i s a bud ."^ thus a p r o g r e s s i o n i s e s t a b l i s h e d and d e p i c t e d - more s u c c e s s f u l on the l e v e l o f image than a " s t i l l " p i c t u r e . Smart o f t e n d e p i c t s h i s animals i n a s t a t e of movement; i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that he does the same f o r the p l a n t kingdom. Smart's use of the word i n t h i s form, i s not only d e l i g h t f u l but s i n g u l a r l y apt i n t h a t the buds i n the garden at the c r e a t i o n were the f i r s t buds, and Smart here e s t a b l i s h e s the scene i n time. " T h i s s o r t o f s p e c i f i c i t y imparts something of the b r i l l i a n c e and c l a r i t y which i s i n l a r g e measure the success of the Song. The "choice gums and p r e c i o u s balm" of the t h i r d l i n e are r e l a t e d to the " v i r t u o u s r o o t " of the f i r s t , and the a s s o c i a t e d h e r b a l and m e d i c i n a l connotations r e c a l l the b i b l i c a l images of the N a t i v i t y a s s o c i a t e d with "precious balm." With the f o u r t h l i n e the poet breaks h i s mood and addresses the reader - or perhaps David - asking that the flowers of the v a l l e y be b l e s s e d . 52 XXIII The "Of" of the f i r s t l i n e r e f e r s back t o the same verb "sung" i n stanza XVIII. With t h i s s tanza on the b i r d s , Smart u t i l i z e s a d e v i c e , p a r t i c u l a r l y w e l l developed i n t h i s poem: the a l t e r n a t i o n o f opposite a t t r i b u t e s w i t h i n a c l a s s o f beings. The b i r d s that " l i v e i n peace or prey" or "that make music, or t h a t mock," w i l d and domestic, those p e r t a i n i n g to one season or the other, each type i s represented. The c o l o u r c o n t r a s t o f the l a s t l i n e of the st a n z a i s p a r t of t h i s system of a l t e r n a t i v e s "The raven, swan and j a y . " XXIV In t h i s stanza, as i n stanza XXI, there i s a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n , or a s e m i - a l l e g o r i c a l use of the noun. Here nature i s an a c t i v e f o r c e . The i n v e r s i o n i n the sentence i s l e s s smooth, more c o n t r i v e d than u s u a l : Of f i s h e s - ev'ry s i z e and shape, Which nature frames of l i g h t escape, Devouring man to shun. The phrase "of l i g h t escape" i s c u r i o u s , though the meaning i s c l e a r . I t means quick; the analogy i s with " l i g h t f o o t e d , " " l i g h t f i n g e r e d , " "to t r i p the l i g h t f a n t a s t i c . " The s h e l l s and shoals of l i n e s f o u r and f i v e are the refuge of the f i s h from the p e r i l s of "devouring man." There i s a pleasant c l a r i t y i n the image of the sun " g l a n c i n g " on the s u r f a c e - and upon the l e a p i n g s h o a l s . 53 The word "wealthy" has two p o s s i b l e connotations. F i r s t , the suggestion of hidden r i c h e s ( i n the p e a r l s and othe r gems of the ocean bed) or such t r e a s u r e s as have been l o s t i n or may be r e t r i e v e d from the sea. Secondly, "wealthy" may r e f e r back to " s h e l l s " and i n d i c a t e the co u n t l e s s numbers.of them. P o s s i b l y both meanings are intended. XXV The a l t e r n a t i o n of c o n t r a s t e d d e t a i l s i s again apparent i n t h i s stanza as i t was i n stanza XXIII. The beaver, f r i e n d l y and herbivorous i s co n t r a s t e d w i t h the t i g e r "sublime" and car n i v e r o u s - the one working, the other basking. Then the w i l d r a b b i t i n l i n e f o u r i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of a movement downward i n space; the domesticated goat, of the op p o s i t e . The mountain and meadow c a r r y out the p a t t e r n of the u s e f u l and the un- tamed . XXVI In t h i s stanza the word "gem" means what we u s u a l l y a s s o c i a t e w i t h the word - a pre c i o u s stone. The " v i r t u e " of the gem i s a r e f e r e n c e t o v a r i o u s magical or m e d i c i n a l p r o p e r t i e s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h jewels t r a d i t i o n a l l y . "The Jasper o f the Master's stamp," t h i s may be a r e f e r e n c e to the u t i l i z a t i o n of the semi-precious rock by the stone- c a r v e r as a type of the a r t i s t and, thus, o f the Creator. 54 More l i k e l y , the a s s o c i a t i o n i s w i t h Smart's own poem On The Immensity of the Supreme Being, where the Jasper i s s a i d to reproduce the p a t t e r n s of nature, such as the mountains, streams, t r e e s , e t c . , w i t h i n the p r e c i o u s rock. In a passage of f a n c i f u l imagery, Smart d i s c u s s e s the gems hidden i n the e a r t h which "form weak ideas of ( t h e i r ) maker's g l o r y . " He w r i t e s t h a t he would d e t e c t The Agat and the deep-intrenched gem Of k i n d r e d Jasper - Nature i n them both D e l i g h t s to p l a y the Mimic on h e r s e l f ; And i n t h e i r veins she o f t pourtrays the forms Of l e a n i n g h i l l s , o f t r e e s e r e c t , and streams Now s t e a l i n g s o f t l y on, now thund'ring down In desperate cascade, w i t h f l o w ' r s and beasts And a l l the l i v i n g l a n d s k i p of the v a l e . The image i s s u r e l y the same as i s i m p l i e d i n the Song. The poet continues: In v a i n thy p e n c i l , C l a u d i o , or Poussin, Or t h i n e , immortal Guide, wou'd essay Such s k i l l t o i m i t a t e - i t i s the hand Of God h i m s e l f - f o r God Himself i s there . 1 5 In t h i s sense the stone r e - c r e a t e s nature, t h a t i s , God's handiwork. A f u r t h e r p o s s i b l e source i s R e v e l a t i o n where God i s s a i d t o appear i n Jasper ( R e v e l a t i o n i v , 3). In l i n e s f i v e and s i x of t h i s stanza, "and topaz b l a z i n g l i k e a lamp, among the mines beneath," we have a l o g i c a l f a l l a c y an unmined and uncut gems do not b l a z e . Such l i c e n s e i s not a t y p i c a l of the century or of the work of t h i s poet. I t i s such l i n e s t h a t seem t o support B r i t t a i n ' s conten- t i o n t h a t Smart regards nature always i n her u n s p o i l e d and " n a t u r a l " s t a t e . 55 XXVII In s t a n z a XXVIII, Smart r e t u r n s to D a v i d . H e commends the grace and tenderness which, as a r e s u l t of the continued f a v o u r of the D e i t y , enabled him to soothe h i s t r o u b l e d Z i n g . Throughout A Song t o David the assumption i s i m p l i c i t t h a t the agonies o f S a u l are sent by the Adversary; t h i s i s c o n t r a r y to the statement i n the Books of"Samuel. Smart i s engaged i n a movement to " C h r i s t i a n i z e " h i s b i b l i c a l source,although the l i n e , "When satan with h i s hand he q u e l l ' d , " i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y r e f e r s t o David's p l a y i n g on the harp. The use of the u n c a p i t a l i z e d form o f "satan" i m p l i e s one of many e v i l s p i r i t s r a t h e r than the a r c h - f i e n d , Satan. XXVIII The " f u r i o u s Foes" o f t h i s s tanza are a g a i n the agents o f S a u l . Smart makes r a t h e r more of David's p l a y - in g than does Samuel, l a r g e l y because i t i s symbolic of the p o e t i c stance represented a r c h e t y p a l l y by the poet, s i n g e r , or musician. XXIX The sequence of events i s not c h r o n o l o g i c a l as the happenings of t h i s s tanza precede those of st a n z a XVI where David counsels h i s c h i l d . Here M i c h a l i s s t i l l the young daughter of Saul who f e l l i n l o v e w i t h David while her e l d e r s i s t e r was s t i l l promised t o him. She "chose" 56 David i n t h a t she l o v e d him; and gave "her utmost from , her h e a r t , " when she, r i s k e d her l i f e i n h e l p i n g David escape from Saul's rage. XXX-XXXVII The e i g h t stanzas XXX t o XXXVII are the g r e a t e s t c r i t i c a l stumbling block i n the canon of Smart.. They have been attacked or ignored, and o c c a s i o n a l l y some attempt at an e x p l i c a t i o n has been attempted. An anonymous reviewer i n The Monthly Review says of the Greek l e t t e r s of the c r u c i a l stanzas: These, we c o n j e c t u r e , are made choice of, as consecrated f o r the f o l l o w i n g reasons. Alpha and Omega, from a well-known t e x t i n the Revelation.; Iota. E t a , and Sigma because they are used t o s i g n i f y our Saviour on a l t a r s and p u l p i t s . Theta, as being the i n i t i a l of God; and Gamma, as denoting the number t h r e e , h e l d sacred by some C h r i s t i a n s .16 XXX This stanza, a c c o r d i n g to the author, "Shews that the p i l l a r s o f knowledge are the monuments of God's works i n the f i r s t week." T h i s theme i s continued through the succeding s t a n z a s . Commencing i n stanza XXX, Smart enters upon a passage, i n which he l i k e n s the a t t r i b u t e s of God to the days of the f i r s t week as the p i l l a r s of the l o r d . The correspondence o f Smart's stanzas, l a b e l l e d by the Greek l e t t e r s , , t o the seven days of C r e a t i o n , i s obvious though r a t h e r f r e e . Smart mentions and e l a b o r a t e s upon, the c r e a t i o n of l i g h t , the heavens, the l a n d , the 57 s t a r s and p l a n e t s , f i s h and fowl, c a t t l e and man, and the day o f r e s t . A l l are i n the c o n v e n t i o n a l order which we take from Genesis, but i n imagery d i f f i c u l t to d i s e n t a n g l e . I t i s hard to v i s u a l i z e the images suggested by these s t a n z a s . The seven p i l l a r s r e a c h i n g , "Prom e a r t h to topmost heav'n," form p a r t o f some s o r t o f temple dedicated, perhaps, to the wisdom of God. In Proverbs, chapters e i g h t and nine, the e a r t h i s e s t a b l i s h e d on seven p i l l a r s . The c r e a t i o n o f the world i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the wisdom o f the Almighty. The c r e a t i o n i s supposed by Smart to have been c a r r i e d out by C h r i s t , "His WORD accomplished the design." The poet has i n mind the open- i n g passage o f the Gospel o f S t . John. The "gem" of the f i f t h l i n e i s , a c c o r d i n g to Broadbent, a s t a r . Thus the statement becomes one of the extent of God's involvement i n the crea t e d order - a t o t a l coverage i s i m p l i e d , from the h i g h e s t to the lowest, the a l l - i n c l u s i v e statement at which Smart aims r e p e a t e d l y i n the poem. XXXI In the phrase, "Alpha, the cause of causes" Smart i s naming the D i v i n e Being. Alpha i s a pa r t of the name of God i n R e v e l a t i o n , "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending," ( R e v e l a t i o n i , 8 ) . Here Smart speaks o f Alph a as a f o u n t a i n - a generative or p h a l l i c image not i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h a c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the C r e a t o r . This p i l l a r i s , " f i r s t i n s t a t i o n , " t h at i s , f i r s t of the seven. 58 Some a r c h i t e c t u r a l p l a n o f the p o s s i b l e arrangement of the p i l l a r s might be i n t e r e s t i n g , and r e v e a l i n g o f t h e i r r e l a - t i o n s h i p to each other and to the D e i t y . From t h i s p i l l a r proceeds, "the b u r s t / o f l i g h t , and b l a z e of day." In Genesis God i s reputed to have s a i d , " l e t there be l i g h t : and there was l i g h t , " t h i s on the f i r s t day. Smart adheres to the order o f Genesis i n these s t a n z a s . The poet continues with an analogy drawn from h i s previous statements to the e f f e c t t h a t t h i s c r e a t i o n of l i g h t by the D e i t y i s the precedent f o r a l l "bold" deeds, and upon t h i s a c t , or r a t h e r upon the f o r c e which could produce i t , even heaven i t s e l f depends f o r i t s continued e x i s t e n c e . In h i s re c e n t e d i t i o n o f A Song to David. Broadbent has a note to the e f f e c t t h a t " . . . i n the i n t r o d u c - t i o n at Para d i s e Lost I I I , M i l t o n asks whether l i g h t may not be c o e v a l w i t h God and, l i k e the Son, a d i r e c t e f f l u e n c e of h i s g l o r y , " (Broadbent, p. 36). This i s the passage i n q u e s t i o n : H a i l , h o l y L i g h t , o f f s p r i n g o f Heav'n f i r s t - b o r n , Or of t h ' e t e r n a l C o - e t e r n a l beam May I express thee unblamed? s i n c e God i s L i g h t , And never but i n unapproached L i g h t Dwelt from E t e r n i t y , dwelt then i n thee, B r i g h t e f f l u e n c e o f b r i g h t essence i n c r e a t e . Or h e a r ' s t thou r a t h e r pure E t h e r i a l stream, Whose Fo u n t a i n who s h a l l t e l l ? before the Sun, Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the v o i c e Of God, as wit h a mantle d i d s t i n v e s t The r i s i n g world of waters dark and deep, Won from the v o i d and formless i n f i n i t e . (P.L. I l l , 1-12) 59 Broadbent has a further note, "The Greek l e t t e r may represent a pair of compasses, one of the three pieces of furniture i n a masonic lodge, and the B i b l i c a l instruments whereby God marked off the universe-to-be from chaos," (Broadbent, p. % ) . This editor makes quite plausible the choice of these p a r t i c u l a r Greek l e t t e r s as the masonic emblems with which Smart as a mason would be f a m i l i a r . XXXII The second p i l l a r bears the l e t t e r Gamma. The sapphire i s associated with i t la r g e l y on account of colour, one presumes, the colour of the sky. Elsewhere Smart refers to the colour of the sky as sapphire. The references of the f i n a l three l i n e s of the stanza are to the sky, rather i n terms of the set t i n g f o r a stage: Thence the f l e e t clouds are sent a d r i f t , And thence the painted folds that l i f t The crimson v e i l , are wav'd. Smart speaks of the skies i n sim i l a r terms i n his tra n s l a - t i o n of Psalm CIV: With l i g h t , which thou hast purer made, As with a robe thou art array'd, Whose pow'r the world upholds; And hang'st the skies i n beauteous blue Wav'd l i k e a curtain to the view, Down heav'n's high dome i n fol d s . (Psalm CIV, st.2) Here, the poet speaks of the sky i n a v i s u a l but a r t i f i c i a l way, almost as though he were describing the setting of a stage. 60 Broadbent has a r e f e r e n c e f o r the use of Gamma as the i n i t i a l o f one of the p i l l a r s . He w r i t e s : Gamma may represent the number 3, or a set-square. (One of the three moveable jewels o f a masonic lodge, symbolising m o r a l i t y ) . The a r c h i s the firmament of heaven, cre a t e d on the second day. (Broadbent, p.36) That " a n g e l i c l e g i o n s march" upon the ar c h o f the heavens, the "firmament" of Genesis, i s as l o g i c a l as that they should be so m i l i t a r i z e d elsewhere. M i l t o n ' s angels perform i n ways even l e s s c r e d i b l e . XXXIII The t h i r d p i l l a r i s a c o r i n t h i a n one, covered with c a r v i n g s o f v e g e t a t i v e l u x u r i a n c e : And God s a i d , Let the ea r t h b r i n g f o r t h grass, the herb y i e l d i n g seed, and the f r u i t t r e e y i e l d i n g f r u i t a f t e r h i s k i n d . . . . (Genesis i , 11) Th i s p i l l a r , r e p r e s e n t i n g the t h i r d day of c r e a t i o n , i s i l l u s t r a t i v e o f the a r t o f c u l t i v a t i o n r a t h e r than o f w i l d or wasted growth. The scene i s the t r a d i t i o n a l Garden of Eden. The p i l l a r i s carved and bears upon i t s base the "trowel, spade, and loom," perhaps as symbols o f husbandry; the t o o l s used to t r a i n vegetable nature to man's w i l l . XXXIV The p i l l a r graced with the l e t t e r Theta stands next to the Supreme. Perhaps Broadbent's note i s r e v e a l i n g . He says, "Theta i s the i n i t i a l o f ®£0<> , and w i t h I o t a and 61 Sigma ( I 0 £ - Jesus, God, Saviour) i t i s used as a monogram i n churches, (Broadbent, p. 36). Thus Theta i s next to God i n that the i n i t i a l p e r t a i n s to His name. Again Smart takes h i s t e x t , and i n pa r t h i s phrasing, from Genesis. His i n t i m a t e knowledge o f many d i s p a r a t e p a r t s o f the b i b l i c a l r e c o r d i s made apparent by t h i s Song, more than by many of h i s other d e v o t i o n a l poems. The t e x t r uns: And God s a i d , l e t there be l i g h t s i n the firmament o f heaven to d i v i d e the day from the n i g h t ; and l e t them be f o r s i g n s , and f o r seasons, and days, and y e a r s . And God made two gre a t l i g h t s ; the g r e a t e r l i g h t to r u l e the day, and the l e s s e r l i g h t to r u l e the n i g h t ; he made the s t a r s a l s o . (Genesis i , 14 & 16) Smart f o l l o w s h i s source, but i n imagery r a t h e r f a n c i f u l than exact, as b e f i t s the poet. God, "the Supreme," ...formed, i n number, s i g n , and scheme, Th 1 i l l u s t r i o u s l i g h t s that a r e; And one addressed h i s s a f f r o n robe, And one, c l a d i n a s i l v e r globe, Held r u l e with ev'ry s t a r . Here the poet re-phrases the two verses from Genesis. The " i l l u s t r i o u s l i g h t s " were formed a c c o r d i n g to t h e i r place and f u n c t i o n i n the heavens as di s p e n s e r s of l i g h t and as guides to time and season, "...formed i n number, s i g n , and scheme." The " s i g n " i s a l s o a r e f e r e n c e to the z o d i a c a l s i g n s which the s t a r c l u s t e r s would represent, and which Smart mentions again i n stanza LXVI. The instruments used by the D e i t y i n marking out the u n i v e r s e are c e l e b r a t e d by 62 Smart i n Hymn VI, i i : The s t a r s , the firmament, the sun, God's g l o r i o u s work, God's great design, A l l , a l l was f i n i s h ' d as begun, By r u l e , by compass, and by l i n e . There i s an assurance o f a u t h o r i t y here, which i s f i t t i n g o n l y from one of the e l e c t , the man chosen by an i n s c r u t a b l e D e i t y to r e s t o r e the t r u e f a i t h to England. The second h a l f of the stanza r e l a t e s to the second of the quoted passages from Genesis. The " s a f f r o n robe" i s the garment of the sun. The "one c l a d i n a s i l v e r globe" i s the moon, who "held r u l e with every s t a r . " XXXV The f i f t h p i l l a r , whose l e t t e r i s I o t a , r epresents "those t h a t f l y , " and "he t h a t swims." Here the poet has r e v e r s e d the order of the c r e a t u r e s as they appear i n Genesis: And God s a i d , Let the waters b r i n g f o r t h abundantly the moving crea t u r e t h a t hath l i f e , and fowl that may f l y above the e a r t h i n the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis i , 20) That the p i l l a r i s "tuned to c h o r a l hymns" means merely t h a t i t records those p r a i s e s bestowed upon the Creator by the f i s h and f o w l - the concept of each c r e a t u r e p r a i s i n g God by i t s v e r y being i s i m p l i c i t . T h i s concept, not too d i s t i n c t from Hopkins' i n s t r e s s , i s concerned w i t h the very e x i s t e n c e of the b i r d or f i s h - i t s beauty, c o l o u r , song b e i n g a paean to the Almighty. The use of "tuned" suggests another thought, that each p i l l a r represents one s t r i n g of the l y r e or harp upon which a l l nature sounds her praises of God. There i s a passage i n Jubilate Agno which may be a l i n k here: For GOD the father Almighty plays upon the HARP of stupendous magnitude and melody,. For innumerable Angels f l y out at every touch and his tune i s a work of creation. For at that time malignity ceases and the devils themselves are at peace. For this time i s perceptible to man by a remarkable s t i l l n e s s and serenity of soul. For the Aeolian harp i s improveable into r e g u l a r i t y . . . (J.A. B 1, 246-250) This idea is.connected i n his mind with the concept of the Aeolian harp, as this passage makes apparent. He treats of that aspect of the idea i n stanza LXVT of the Song. Other examples of God's works are recorded on i t s foot, i t s c a p i t a l , and i n the niche, or niches, with which i t i s graced; presumably i n a suitably p i c t o r i a l fashion, or i n a s c r i p t of sanctioned form or acceptable antiquity. Broadbent further notes, "I may represent the plumb-line, another of the moveable jewels of a masonic lodge, symbolis- ing probity" (Broadbent, p. 36). XXXVI Sigma depicts "the s o c i a l droves," that i s , the animals that herd, the herbivores, and those useful to man. Nor are those animals that move alone forgotten. The relevent passage from Genesis reads: And God s a i d , Let the ea r t h b r i n g f o r t h the l i v i n g c r e a t u r e a f t e r h i s k i n d , c a t t l e , the cre e p i n g t h i n g , and beast of the e a r t h a f t e r h i s k i n d : and i t was so. (Genesis i , 24) The remainder o f the stanza i s l e s s c l e a r . In J u b i l a t e Agno the i n i t i a l S stands f o r Soul (J.A. B 2, 530) and f o r S a l v a t i o n (J.A. B 2, 555). Perhaps the re f e r e n c e i n the l i n e s : And man of a l l the c h i e f ; P a i r on whose face, and s t a t e l y frame, Did God impress h i s hallow'd name, For o c c u l a r b e l i e f . i s i n pa r t the statement i n Genesis i , 27: So God crea t e d man i n . h i s own image, i n the image of God created he him.... And i n part the f a c t o f Messiah's i n c a r n a t i o n i n the f l e s h o f man. XXXVII The seventh p i l l a r , Omega, f o r "the day of r e s t , " i s a p p r o p r i a t e l y a l s o f o r " g r a t i t u d e and thought." Omega i s p a r t o f the phrase a s s o c i a t e d with the name of God i n R e v e l a t i o n . The seventh day saw the cu l m i n a t i o n of the c r e a t i o n of the world which, i n the M i l t o n i c t r a d i t i o n , was to supply the l a c k i n heaven cre a t e d by the d e f e c t i o n of Satan's f o r c e s . In t h i s sense i t c o n t r o l l e d chaos - "the i n f e r n a l draught." By t h i s time the e a r t h was e s t a b l i s h e d upon " h i s p o l e " or a x i s . The "goal" of the un i v e r s e , mentioned i n the f i f t h l i n e , i s p o s s i b l y the 65 "great year" of the a n c i e n t s when each s t a r and p l a n e t w i l l r e t u r n to the p l a c e of i t s s e t t i n g f o r t h and the days of the c r e a t i o n w i l l be complete, the m i l l e n i u m at hand. More simply, the l i n e could r e f e r merely to the completion of the c r e a t i o n . XXXVIII Once again, i n the t h i r t y - e i g h t h stanza, Smart r e t u r n s to h i s p r a i s e o f David. The p s a l m i s t i s the " s c h o l a r o f the Lord" i n t h a t he i s acquainted w i t h the beneficence of the c r e a t o r and the m u l t i p l i c i t y of the c r e a t e d order. His s c i e n c e i s the " n a t u r a l " s c i e n c e which aims at an understanding o f God's works on e a r t h . For t h i s David i s to r e c e i v e , "...reward / And i n f i n i t e degree." T h i s word "degree," as Broadbent notes, i s f r e q u e n t l y used by C h r i s t o p h e r Smart.. I t i s a masonic word meaning moral e x c e l l e n c e . The f i f t h l i n e r e i t e r a t e s the c o r r e l a t i o n between David and the harp y i e l d i n g p r a i s e to the C r e a t o r . The f o u r t h and s i x t h l i n e s r e f e r to Samson's r i d d l e of the honeycomb i n the carcass of a l i o n : "out of s t r e n g t h cometh f o r t h sweetness." XXXIX In t h i s stanza Smart u t t e r s what amounts to an attempted j u s t i f i c a t i o n of the shortcomings both of h i s hero and of h i m s e l f : 66 There i s hut One who ne'er r e b e l l ' d , But One by pa s s i o n unimpell'd, By pleasures u n i n t i c e ' t ; That i s , o n l y God i s p e r f e c t ; next to Him comes David i n p i e t y and g l o r y . We f i n d , i n t h i s stanza, something of t h a t s e r i o u s preoccupation w i t h h i s own grandeur on the part of Smart's God, which i s q u i t e u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y humorous, rem i n i s c e n t of M i l t o n ' s Father i n Paradise L o s t . I l l : Grand o b j e c t of h i s own content;, I t i s a p i c t u r e of a very human, almost complacent, anthropomorphic d e i t y . The poet takes the words of the Almighty from the Book of Exodus i n the f i r s t l i n e s of t h i s s t a n z a : T e l l them I am, JEHOVA s a i d To MOSES; while e a r t h heard i n dread, And, smitten to the heart, At once above, beneath, around, A l l Nature, without v o i c e or sound, R e p l i e d , '0 Lord, THOU ART.' The b i b l i c a l t e x t i s as f o l l o w s : And Moses s a i d unto God, Behold when I.come unto the c h i l d r e n of I s r a e l , and s h a l l say unto them, The God of your f a t h e r s hath sent me unto you; and they s h a l l say to me, What i s h i s name? what s h a l l I say unto ;them? And God s a i d unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he s a i d , Thus s h a l t thou say unto the c h i l d r e n o f I s r a e l , I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus i i i , 13 & 14) 67 The stanza continues with a dialogue between the Almighty and h i s c r e a t u r e s which i s i l l u s t r a t i v e of the theme of a l l nature p r a i s i n g God. T h i s stanza i s i n t r o d u c t o r y to t h a t " e x e r c i s e upon the decalogue" of which Smart speaks i n h i s "Contents." (Exodus xx, 1 & 2 Broadbent has a note that the c e n t r a l meaning of Jehovah., i s "I am." But s c h o l a r s have never agreed on the a c t u a l meaning o f the name. That e a r t h should be "smitten to the h e a r t " upon h e a r i n g the v o i c e of the Creator i s perhaps only r i g h t and f i t t i n g . Smart makes r e f e r e n c e to Moses as the r e c i p i e n t of the r e v e l a t i o n of the D i v i n e Presence of the Lord on Mount S i n a i , an honour vouchsafed to few. By h i s r e f e r e n c e s to Moses the poet i s endeavouring to e s t a b l i s h the l i n k between David and h i s s p i r i t u a l ancestor, Moses, and h i s descendant, C h r i s t . The attempt i s to g i v e David a pedigree more ac c e p t a b l e than the mere choice of Samuel, who a f t e r a l l chose Sau l , and to e s t a b l i s h David on t h i s b a s i s as a f i t m o r a l i s t , and so preach i n his.name. The d o c t r i n e p r e s c r i b e d i s a mixture of the Mosaic law and the Sermon on the Mount. XII T h i s stanza i s a c o n t i n u a t i o n of the previous one and i s p a r t of the e x e r c i s e upon the decalogue. The f i r s t statement, t h a t " a l l f l e s h " shares the bounty of the 68 C r e a t o r , i s f o l l o w e d by a commandment not taken d i r e c t l y from the ten but modified by the New Testament i n f l u e n c e which the poet f r e q u e n t l y t r i e s to i n c u l c a t e . The s t a t e - ment, "Thou s h a l t not c a l l thy b r o t h e r f o o l , " i s a rephras- i n g o f a verse i n L e v i t i c u s "Thou s h a l t not hate thy brother i n t h i n e h e a r t " ( L e v i t i c u s x i x , 17), and p e c u l i a r l y r e l e v a n t to the case o f Smart a f t e r h i s seven years of being teased and j e e r e d a t i n v a r i o u s mental i n s t i t u t i o n s . In J u b i l a t e Agno he w r i t e s : For s i l l y f e l l o w ! s i l l y f e l l o w ! i s aga i n s t me and belongeth n e i t h e r to me nor my f a m i l y . (J.A. B 1, 60) XLII The suggestion that man i s a cr e a t u r e , "Open, and naked of o f f e n c e , " i s p o s s i b l e only from a poet of a c h i l d - l i k e n a i v e t e , though i t might have a p p l i e d to man i n the Garden of Eden. Was Smart such a one? The second l i n e of t h i s stanza, "Man's made of mercy, s o u l , and sense" suggests t h a t i n t e r e s t o f Smart i n angels, and h i s h e r e t i c a l accept- ance of what Robert B r i t t a i n c a l l s , "a c l e a r d o c t r i n e of trichotomy." In some of h i s Hymns and Psalms angels appear where they are not i n the b i b l i c a l v e r s i o n s . Then i n Hymn XVI on the Holy T r i n i t y Smart w r i t e s : Man, s o u l and angel j o i n To s t r i k e up s t r a i n s d i v i n e ; 69 F o r angel, man and s o u l Make up upon the whole One i n d i v i d u a l here, And i n the h i g h e s t sphere; Where w i t h God he s h a l l repose, irom whose image f i r s t he r o s e . (Hymn XVI, s t . 5 & 6) The statement, as B r i t t a i n notes, helps with the d e s c r i p - t i o n i n stanza XV of the Song; "Man, s o u l and angel without peer." B r i t t a i n has a great d e a l t o o f f e r on t h i s s c o r e . He w r i t e s : When he says i n the Song t o David, X I I I , "Man's made of mercy, s o u l and sense," he r e v e a l s i n a few words a great d e a l about h i s conception of the t h r e e f o l d nature of man. Here "sense" corresponds t o "man" i n the;.passages c i t e d above; i t i s the r a t i o n a l , earth-bound, three-dimensional p a r t of one. "Mercy," corresponding to "Angel," i s t h a t p a r t o f a human being which i s d i v i n e , the p u r e l y s p i r i t u a l essence, through which alone one may approach the throne of God; and by the d e s i g n a t i o n "mercy" i t i s shown that t h i s p a r t o f one partakes i n an absolute sense of the nature of the D e i t y , ( c . f . Hymn VI, The P r e s e n t a t i o n , s t . 16). Between these two i s the " s o u l , " a r e c e p t i v e and communicative agent, b r i n g i n g to the "sense-man" nature, . i n t u i t i v e glimpses of the e t e r n a l and the d i v i n e , and judging the f l i g h t s of the "angel-mercy" by the a i d of human reason. ( B r i t t a i n , p. 288) The r e f e r e n c e t o the s n a i l i s p o s s i b l y as a c o n t r a s t to the p u r i t y of man: These a l s o s h a l l be unclean unto you among the c r e e p i n g things that' creep upon the ear t h ; ... the s n a i l . ( L e v i t i c u s x i , 29-30) 70 The whelk (Smart's "wilk") presumably i s unclean a l s o . Perhaps i t i s a f u r t h e r comment on the defencelessness of man among the other c r e a t u r e s , many of whom are "armed." The r e s t of the stanza i s a t r a s l a t i o n of a passage i n Exodus^ "S i x days thou s h a l t do thy work, and on the seventh day thou s h a l t r e s t : t h at t h i n e ox and t h i n e ass may r e s t " (Exodus x x i i i , 12). There i s a r e f e r e n c e of a s i m i l a r nature i n J u b i l a t e Agno: For the m e r c i f u l man i s m e r c i f u l to h i s beast, and to the t r e e s that give them s h e l t e r . (J.A. B 1, 13) X L I I I T h i s stanza takes as i t s t e x t the f i f t h commandment, "Honour thy f a t h e r and thy mother, t h a t thy days may be l o n g upon the land which the Lord thy God g i v e t h thee." The "hoary head" i s the s i g n o f age which i s to be res p e c t e d . There i s an echo of two verses i n Kings which may be intended i n an admonitory way by the poet, though they do not redound to the c r e d i t of h i s hero. When D a v i d asks Solomon to destroy h i s enemies he uses the phrases, "...and l e t not h i s hoar head go down to the grave i n peace," and " . . . h i s hoar head b r i n g thou down to the grave i n blood" (Kings i i , 6 & 9). This c o r r e l a t i o n may very w e l l be un- i n t e n t i o n a l . Smart avoids any over t r e f e r e n c e to bloodshed i n these stanzas on the decalogue. The f o u r t h l i n e c i t e s C h r i s t as an example of f i l i a l obedience, "Not as I w i l l , but as thou w i l t . " The suggestion 71 t h a t C h r i s t ' s p a t t e r n be followed i s e x p l i c i t . In Luke, Jesus says "Father, i f thou be w i l l i n g , remove t h i s cup from me: n e v e r t h e l e s s not my w i l l , but t h i n e , be done" (Luke x x i i , 42). XLIV This stanza avoids any d i s c u s s i o n of the v i o l e n c e which the s i x t h commandment p r o h i b i t s . The poet contents h i m s e l f with o f f e r i n g the advice that the passions are there to be used, not abused, and t h a t the proper safeguards to abuse e x i s t . XLV The a d v i c e o f f e r e d i n t h i s stanza i s both moral and simple. The admonition, "Remember thy baptismal bond suggests "Honour thy f a t h e r and mother." The f i f t h l i n e does s e r v i c e f o r "Thou s h a l t not commit a d u l t e r y ('...renounce ... the c a r n a l d e s i r e s o f the f l e s h . . . * ) . " The t h i r d l i n e of the stanza i s from Deuteronomy, "Thou s h a l t not plow with an ox and an ass together," (Deuteronomy x x i i , 10). This i s so o b v i o u s l y " T i l l not wi t h ass and b u l l , " as to need no f u r t h e r comment. The next verse i n the same chapter of the same book y i e l d s the s i x t h l i n e o f C h r i s t o p h e r Smart's stanza, "Thou s h a l t not wear a garment of d i v e r s s o r t s , as of woolen and l i n e n U \ together" (Deuteronomy x x i i , 11). The second l i n e o f the stanza i s from the New Testament. I t i s a s a y i n g by now almost p r o v e r b i a l : 72 .Neither do men put new wine i n t o o l d b o t t l e s : e l s e the b o t t l e s break, and the wine runneth out, and the b o t t l e p e r i s h : but they put new wine i n t o new b o t t l e s , and both are preserved. (Mathew i x , 17) XLVI In t h i s stanza Smart i s d e a l i n g with a t o p i c not unusual with him. The Books of L e v i t i c u s and Deuteronomy are f i l l e d w i t h r e f e r e n c e s to man's o b l i g a t i o n to G-od and the poor. The r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o supply food to the needy i s emphasized as a r e l i g i o u s duty. Smart makes a frequent demand,; f o r c h a r i t y . In J u b i l a t e Agno he w r i t e s : For God n e v e r t h e l e s s i s an extravagant Being and generous unto l o s s . (J.A. B 2, 380) Fu r t h e r he says: For T u l l y says to be generous you must f i r s t be j u s t , but the v o i c e of C h r i s t i s d i s t r i b u t e a t a l l events. (J.A. B 2, 386) XIVI I The whole tenor of t h i s s e c t i o n o f A Song to David i s to the e f f e c t that the eye-for-an-eye philosophy of the Hebrew law i s to be r e p l a c e d b y the New Testament golden r u l e . T h i s t u r n i n g from the Old to the New Testament i s made concrete i n the f o u r t h l i n e , "Turn from Old Adam to the New." Here Smart i n s i s t s that only through C h r i s t , and the a d d i t i o n a l e f f o r t s of the C h r i s t i a n , can man l i v e 73 a worthy l i f e . David, i t i s true, was h a l f way between the two, but then he was an exception. The re f e r e n c e t o C h r i s t as the New Adam i s i n C o r i n t h i a n s xv, 22, "For as i n Adam a l l d i e , even so i n C h r i s t s h a l l a l l be made a l i v e . " More s p e c i f i c a l l y , "And so i t was w r i t t e n , the f i r s t Adam was made a l i v i n g s o u l ; the l a s t Adam was made a quicken- i n g s p i r i t " ( C o r i n t h i a n s xv, 45). The stanza f i n i s h e s w ith the admonition to r e s p e c t h i s t o r y and to l e a r n from i t . XLVIII Here the tenth commandment i s h i n t e d a t . Again the golden r u l e i s paraphrased. The word "Grut.ch" i s a form of grudge, and i s used as such by Smart and h i s contem- p o r a r i e s . ^ I t was not a p r i n t e r ' s e r r o r , as some e d i t o r s have suggested, though i t has been c o r r e c t e d as one by some e d i t o r s of the Song.^ The meaning of "Mammon and h i s leaven" i s w o r l d l y success and i n s i n c e r i t y . The theme i s d e a l t w i t h by Smart i n h i s Pa r a b l e s : Take heed ( s a i d C h r i s t the Word of heav'n) To shun the P h a r i s a i c l e a v ' n , Ev'n h y p o c r i t i c a l d i s g u i s e : For nothing's v e i l e d from human eyes, Which s h a l l not i n due time be shewn, Nor h i d , but s h a l l be f u l l y known. (Parable LI) XLIX Again, Smart apostrophises David. He asks that David, as teacher, i n s i s t on the ways of God. He appends a comment which appears to have a b i o g r a p h i c a l r e f e r e n c e : V a i n are the documents of men, And v a i n the f l o u r i s h of the pen That keeps the f o o l ' s c o n c e i t . Can he be r e f e r r i n g to the l i t e r a r y war conducted between Dr. H i l l and h i m s e l f , so d e t r i m e n t a l to the r e p u t a t i o n s of both? C e r t a i n l y the events i l l u s t r a t e h i s theme. The comments i n The Monthly Review f o r that p e r i o d are r e v e a l - i n g . Smart's note on t h i s stanza suggests a c o r r e l a t i o n between the f i r s t l i n e o f the stanza and Psalm GXIX. L T h i s stanza i s g e n e r a l l y on the poet's theme and r e i t e r a t e s h i s demand f o r p r a i s e of the Creator, a demand interwoven throughout the s t u f f of the Song. He appends to the p l e a f o r an overabundance of p r a i s e another moral precept l i k e those which immediately precede. Though i t does s t a t e the poet's theme, and i s i n place here, t h i s stanza i s r a t h e r a t r a n s i t i o n a l than a v i t a l one to the movement o f the poem as a whole. LI-LXXI With t h i s s tanza Smart begins a s e c t i o n of twenty- one stanzas on the theme of A d o r a t i o n . They are not, as has been suggested, three groups of seven i n any i n t e g r a l sense. The f i r s t of the group e s t a b l i s h e s the h a b i t of the c e l e s t i a l beings as regards a d o r a t i o n , with David y i e l d i n g a d o r a t i o n , " i n t h e i r midst." In Psalm CXXX 'the poet p e r s o n i f i e s A d o r a t i o n f a l l i n g a t the throne of God: And t h e r e f o r e t r e m b l i n g at thy throne S h a l l a d o r a t i o n f a l l . With the angels are "God's good poor," i n v i t e d "by C h r i s t to the throne of God. C h r i s t i s here addressed as the "blessed bridegroom," h i s b r i d e being, t r a d i t i o n a l l y , the Church. L I I Stanza I I I begins a group o f twelve i n each of which the phrase, "For A d o r a t i o n , " occurs. Each time i t i s one l i n e f u r t h e r on i n the stanza; l i n e one i n stanza L I I , l i n e two i n stanza L I I I , e t c . The de v i c e runs twice completely through the s i x l i n e stanza p a t t e r n , thus completing the twelve of t h i s group. Such p l a y i n g with the format o f the stanza i s not t y p i c a l of the age. The twelve stanzas are subdivided i n t o f o u r groups of t h r e e . Each t r i p l e t i s devoted to one of the seasons,- stanzas L I I , L I I I , LIY to Spring, stanzas LV, LVI, LVII to Summer, and so on. I t i s not appa r e n t l y p o s s i b l e to break down each group i n t o the r e l e v a n t months of the year though presumably that analogy suggested the p a t t e r n . L I I The polyanthus "chequing" the grass i s not a d i f f i c u l t image to r e c o n c i l e with s p r i n g . I t i s an exampl perhaps, of what has been termed Smart's " m i n i a t u r i s t ' s eye." C e r t a i n l y t h i s poem i s evidence of a ve r y exact o b s e r v a t i o n and d e t a i l e d memory, and nowhere i s t h i s more obvious than i n the A d o r a t i o n stanzas. Many explanations have*been attempted f o r the l i n e s J And p o l i s h ' d porphyry r e f l e c t s By the descending r i l l . Some c r i t i c s t r a n s l a t e "porphyry" as limestone; ,claim p o e t i c l i c e n c e e i t h e r f o r the poet or themselves, and set the scene i n Kent. T h i s i s j u s t t h a t s o r t of c o n v e n t i o n a l eighteenth-century formula which Smart has so s u c c e s s f u l l y avoided i n the stanzas. Broadbent suggests t h a t Smart had i n mind the b a s i n of an a r t i f i c i a l f o u n t a i n . In the Parables there i s such a conjunction, of r i l l a n d ! f o u n t a i n : The b l e s s e d men bur Saviour chose To hear h i s d o c t r i n e , share h i s woes., S t i l l as they waited by h i s s i d e Were by h i s g l o r y p u r i f i e d . No l i m p i d r i l l , no p o l i s h ' d vase, But were unclean b e f o r e h i s f a c e . (Parables, 8) In any case the image i s of f a l l i n g water, s u i t a b l y r i c h and s p r i n g - l i k e . L I I I The almonds of t h i s stanza are not r i p e n i n g but blossoming. The phrase, " c o l o u r to the prime" should be so read. The " t e n d r i l s " r e f e r t o the new growth of the (grape) v i n e . In the c l a u s e , "And f r u i t t r e e s pledge t h e i r gems," we have "gem" a g a i n i n the sense of bud. Smart's own note i d e n t i f i e s " I v i s " as the humming b i r d , though h i s source i s unknown. 77 LIV • The tone of t h i s stanza i s b i b l i c a l and t r e a t s of the miraculous. Even the growth of the cedar i s a y i e l d - i n g of a d o r a t i o n to God. Some d i s t a s t e or l a c k of under- standing i s f r e q u e n t l y v o i c e d about the i n c l u s i o n i n t h i s chorus of the m y t h i c a l mermaid. Smart has the precedent of c e n t u r i e s of g o t h i c church a r c h i t e c t u r e as a u t h o r i t y , were i t needed, f o r the i n t e r p o l a t i o n of u n r e a l c r e a t u r e s and t h e i r j u x t a p o s i t i o n with C h r i s t i a n f i g u r e s . ^ ,Devlin mentions t h a t t h i s mermaid forms p a r t of the stone c a r v i n g of Durham C a t h e d r a l ,where, i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y . Smart saw her. In any case, the image i s j u s t i f i e d on another count i n that i t i s , perhaps because of a c e r t a i n i n c o n g r u i t y , one of the most s u c c e s s f u l v i s u a l l y i n t h i s s e c t i o n of A Song to David: ...to the mermaid's pap- The s c a l e d i n f a n t c l i n g s . IV The "spotted ounce and playsome cubs" are a p p r o p r i a t enough to summer. The' ounce, a n . a s i a t i c animal resembling a leopard, i s among those animals which Smart knew^only through h i s extensive r e a d i n g . The l i z a r d s are a t home i n t h a t season a l s o . The "feed the moss" i s a c o n t r i v e d phrase, c a l c u l a t e d i n i t s u n f a m i l i a r i t y . Therhalcyons, or k i n g f i s h e r s , f i g u r e i n Greek legend as n e s t i n g on the waters. However, i n the C h r i s t i a n v e r s i o n a t l e a s t , they 78 nest f o r a f o r t n i g h t before the winter s o l s t i c e , when, as the legend has i t , the waves are always.; calm. They became, as J.B. Broadbent notes, emblems of the peace brought about by the N a t i v i t y . The. embarking of the beasts was, i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y , the h erding by Noah of the animals i n t o the ark. The rhyme of the f o l l o w i n g l i n e would seem to support t h i s sugges- t i o n . Robert B r i t t a i n b e l i e v e s t h a t the e x t r a o r d i n a r y e x p l a n a t i o n of the sea-going quadruped i n Smart's own notes t o the 1765 e d i t i o n was an a f t e r - t h o u g h t . He w r i t e s , "The i n s e r t i o n of t h i s dubious footnote ( i n an attempt to p l a c a t e the reviewers?) i s the only i n d i c a t i o n I have found i n h i s l a t e r work of l i n g e r i n g t r a c e s of h i s i l l n e s s , " ( B r i t t a i n , p. 30). I t i s more pleasant t o envisage the poet i n s e r t i n g h i s fo o t n o t e r e f e r e n c e with tongue i n cheek. 171 v The, p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of I s r a e l , meaning the Hebrew people, i s common i n the'Old Testament and Smart has merely transposed i t to h i s v e r s e . The f i g i s a b i b l i c a l image conveying the ideas of peace and p r o s p e r i t y . I t i s so used by Smart i n h i s t r a n s l a t i o n of Psalms J J X X V I I I , CXXViri, and CXIVII-. I t has been suggested that t h i s 'stanza d e p i c t s a scene of t r i b a l l i f e w i t h the p a t r i a r c h a l f i g u r e of I s r a e l watching over the c h i l d r e n of h i s t r i b e , the "wean'd advent'rer" s p o r t i n g with the s p r i g of amber. 79 The p i c t u r e i s i d e a l i z e d and p a s t o r a l i n the t r a d i t i o n of the shepherd k i n g . The g a l e of the s i x t h l i n e of the stanza i s the breeze r a t h e r than anything more ro b u s t . I t i s so used by Thomson i n h i s Seasons ( S p r i n g ) , and Pope uses i t i n the l i n e : . "Where e'er you walk, c o o l gales s h a l l f a n the glade." The image that the poet c r e a t e s of the l i f e of the t r a v e l l e r i s an o p t i m i s t i c and u n r e a l one. LVII The s p i r i t s t i l t i n g i n the pink and mottled v a u l t have c a l l e d down upon the head of the poet suggestions that he was s e t t i n g a war or tournament i n heaven. Probably the r e f e r e n c e i s to n o t h i n g more unorthodox than a c e s s a t i o n of the winds i n the sky. D e s p i t e Edmund G-osse's d e l i g h t f u l statement that the " c o a s t i n g reader" i s "the courteous reader, while walking a l o n g the c o a s t , " i t , i s by now accepted t h a t the r e f e r e n c e i s t o the poet h i m s e l f on a boat c o a s t i n g on some r i v e r and r e g a r d i n g the f i s h swimming beneath him. Both s i l v e r l i n g s and c r u s i o n s are s p e c i e s of f i s h . The c r u s i o n i s the c o l o u r of the g o l d - f i s h and thus " g i l t . " L V I I I This stanza presents a p i c t u r e of the t r a v e l l e r , p o s s i b l y i n the Americas. I t i s an i d e a l i z e d conception, as was o f t e n the case w i t h the European view of the New World i n the eighteenth century. The p i c t u r e c a l l e d up by 80 the l a s t two l i n e s - t h a t of a s m a l l g a t h e r i n g i n an arbor of oranges - i s f a n c i f u l i n the extreme. Presumably the orange could be t r a i n e d upon a t r e l l i s , but i t i s more u s u a l to f i n d i t upon a t r e e . LIX The f i g u r e of l a b o u r i s not c a p i t a l i z e d i n t h i s p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n . Broadbent suggests that although i t was not c a p i t a l i z e d i n any e a r l y e d i t i o n of the poem i t should be so. He submits that many eighteenth-century a b s t r a c - t i o n s are s e m i - a l l e g o r i c a l but suggests that t h i s i s f u l l a l l e g o r y because C h r i s t i s "the p r i n c e of peace." The stanza d e a l s w i t h the r i p e n i n g and h a r v e s t i n g of d i v e r s crops and re-emphasizes the bounty of the Creator. IX The scene i s again not i n the northern clime of England. The "whit'hing r i c e " suggests that i l l u s o r y western i s l e t o which Smart has a l r e a d y a l l u d e d . The "fenced l a n d " of l i n e f o u r suggests the Promised Land. The West In d i e s was h a i l e d i n these terms when i t f i r s t began to be c o l o n i z e d . The imagery i s , at any r a t e , r a t h e r s p l e n d i d : The peaches,and pomegranates stand "' Where w i l d c a r n a t i o n s blow. LXI The winter scene o f t h i s v e r s e i s p e c u l i a r l y s u c c e s s f u l i n that i t i s v i b r a n t l y a l i v e . The crocus 81 "burnishes a l i v e " the s t i l l w i n t r y garden, and the myrtle, d a r k l y green, preserves the i l l u s i o n of growth. LXII The pheasant i s another example of p l e n t y , of God's bounty. I t i s not u n t y p i c a l of Smart to regard the b i r d both as a f r e e l i v i n g c r e a t u r e o f f e r i n g a d o r a t i o n to i t s maker, and as a source of food. He does s i m i l a r l y i n J u b i l a t e Agno where the f i e l d - f a r e i s p r a i s e d as a source of (food i n the season of s c a r c i t y . The ermine, another, symbol of r i c h n e s s , i s a l s o an emblem of p u r i t y - hence the use of the p e l t . The sable makes a dramatic c o n t r a s t w i t h i t s f u n e r e a l coat. The c o l o u r of the pheasant i s set o f f by the white of the ermine and the b l a c k of the s a b l e . The eighteenth-century d i c t i o n o f the l a s t l i n e s of t h i s s t anza i s a r t i f i c i a l y e t , somehow, d e l i g h t f u l ; t h e r e i s so l i t t l e of i t i n t h i s poem that i t does not obtrude. LXIII The l a s t of the group of twelve stanzas moves to the scene of Smart's c h i l d h o o d . Here i s the E n g l i s h c o u n t r y s i d e set out, probably i n the season of Christmas. The r e f e r e n c e both t o h o l l y and yew would r e i n f o r c e t h i s impression. Even the ce a s i n g o f apparent a c t i v i t y i s a t t r i b u t a b l e to the g l o r y of the Lord:, And c a r e f u l nature a l l her doors For ADORATION shu t s . 82 LXIV The next e i g h t stanzas r e - a p p l y the theme of a d o r a t i o n t o Smart's i n i t i a l theme. David's Psalms are, f a i r l y o b v i o u s l y , "For A d o r a t i o n . " Smart makes a s t a t e - ment near t o h i s own p r a c t i c e , "...he, who kneels and chants, P r e v a i l s h i s passions t o c o n t r o l . " T h i s i s C h r i s t o p h e r Smart's con t e n t i o n , and the source of h i s i n c a r c e r a t i o n . C h r i s t o p h e r Hunter, Smart's nephew and the e d i t o r of the 1791 e d i t i o n of the poems, notes t h a t the poet was so impressed with the e f f i c a c y of the p o s i t i o n of a d o r a t i o n t h a t he wrote some passages of A Song to David upon h i s knees. LXV The b u l l f i n c h t r y i n g to i m i t a t e the notes of the f l u t e , seems to Smart the type of the s c h o l a r . The bird, i s a l s o an i n s t a n c e of a d o r a t i o n . The parable of t h e . r e d - b r e a s t i n the thorn bush i s of l e s s c l e a r a p p l i c a t i o n to the poet's theme, u n l e s s i t be as an ins t a n c e o f s a c r i f i c e . LXYI Smart was i n t e n s e l y i n t e r e s t e d i n the many branches of s c i e n t i f i c and p s e u d o - s c i e n t i f i c knowledge w i t h which the cognis.eenti of the age amused ,and employed, themselves. H i s acquaintance with astronomy, n a t u r a l h i s t o r y and, r e l i g i o u s philosophy appears in, stanzas LXVI, LXVIII, and LXIX,. H i s i n t e r e s t i n astronomy i s revealed. by the l i n e s : 83 For ADORATION i n . t h e s k i e s . The Lord's p h i l o s o p h e r e s p i e s . The Dog, the Ram,and Rose. The "Dog'!, i s the dog-star, the "Ram", the c o n s t e l l a t i o n A r i e s . The Rose i s emblematic of the v i r g i n and, by- extension, the c o n s t e l l a t i o n of t h a t name. David i s "the Lord's p h i l o s o p h e r " of the f i r s t l i n e o f the s t a n z a . One df Dr. Delany's footnotes suggests that there i s a l i n g u i s t i c connection between the word "philosopher" and prophet: "....Doctor P a t r i c k t h i n k s that the Greek word Sophos, which was o r i g i n a l l y the t i t l e of astronomers, might be d e r i v e d from Zoph, which i n Hebrew s i g n i f i e s a prophet," (Delany, I , 16). Thus Smart's hero i s a g a i n brought to the centre of the p o e t i c foreground, without obscuring other f i g u r e s . The c o n t r a s t between "The p l a n e t ' s r i n g , Orion's sword" .and the glow-worm i s intended t o remind the reader of the m u l t i p l i c i t y and v a r i e t y of the c r e a t i o n s of the D e i t y . LXVII The " s t r i n g s " of the f i r s t l i n e are those of an A e o l i a n harp being played upon a f t e r i t s f a s h i o n . This instrument, f i r s t known to Europeans i n 1650, made an Impression on the men of Smart's g e n e r a t i o n . Gray commences h i s P i n d a r i c Ode with a r e f e r e n c e t o i t . The s t o r y of David hanging h i s z i t h e r by h i s bed to l i s t e n to i t s r e v e r b e r a t i o n s i n the wind impressed Smart. Broadbent 84 w r i t e s , "the A e o l i a n harp symbolized s p i r i t u a l harmony, and the p r a i s e evoked by d i v i n e i n s p i r a t i o n , " f o r Smart, (Broadbent, p. 39). The concept of a g e n e r a l B e n e d i c i t e is__,here i n v o l v e d with that of nature as a s o r t of A e o l i a n harp, "For God the f a t h e r Almighty p l a y s upon the HARP of stupendous magnitude and melody," (J.A. B 1, 246). The v o i c e of nature, or of God, though not loud to human ears, "makes the c a t a r a c t s to f a l l . " LXVIII In t h i s stanza there i s e s t a b l i s h e d a p a t t e r n which obtains i n the subsequent group of stanzas. There i s a statement of p o s i t i v e value i n , t h e q u a l i t y o f an o b j e c t , followed by a statement t h a t something of a r e l i g i o u s nature i s b e t t e r . Here a d i s c u s s i o n of incense and r i c h perfumes i s followed by a r e f e r e n c e to other s p i c e s or perfumes of a more sacred connotation - myrrh - and the ^ suggestion that the "breath of s a i n t s " i s b e t t e r . LXIX The same p a t t e r n i s repeated here. The down..of the "dam'sin" and the crown of the pineapple are r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the l u s h r i c h n e s s of these f r u i t . But "the sense" should c o n t r o l a p p e t i t e and o b v i a t e over-indulgence. The a p p l i c a t i o n of t h i s d o c t r i n e to other aspects of l i v i n g i s obvious and intended. 85 LXX T h i s stanza i s a reminder t h a t God', or the Church, has e s t a b l i s h e d ways f o r the s i n n e r to come to a s t a t e of grace. This i s followed by the promise t h a t "rays o f g l o r y " w i l l reward the i n d i v i d u a l who overcomes the c a r n a l impulses. There rays are t r a d i t i o n a l l y d e p i c t e d upon the head of Moses. They were form e r l y t r a n s l a t e d as "horns" ( c f . Michelangelo's Moses). Smart seems to have taken the '• legend q u i t e s e r i o u s l y . In J u b i l a t e Agno he w r i t e s : For i n the day of David Men as y e t had a g l o r i o u s horn upon h i s forhead. For t h i s horn was a b r i g h t substance i n c o l o u r and con s i s t e n c e as the n a i l of the hand. For i t Was broad, t h i c k and s t r o n g so as to serve f o r defence as w e l l as ornament. For i t br i g h t e n d t o the Glory of God, which came upon the human face a t morning prayer. For i t . was l a r g e s t and b r i g h t e s t i n the best men. (J.A. C 19-23) The passage continues with elements of l e s s obvious relevance to the current theme. LXXI The example of the sparrow and the swallow f i n d i n g refuge i n the house of God, b r i n g i n g to mind, as i t does, the parable o f the f a l l e n sparrow, serves as a f u r t h e r reminder that man i s not alone i n h i s predicament but has d i v i n e h e l p when he seeks i t . The "man of God's h u m i l i t y " here addressed i s David. Delany makes much of t h i s q u a l i t y i n David. H i s h u m i l i t y a f t e r s i n n i n g d i d much to avert the 86 wrath of the Almighty. Next come another twelve stanzas b u i l t up of f o u r groups of t h r e e . In the f i r s t two stanzas of each group v a r i o u s aspects of c r e a t i o n are d e s c r i b e d as sweet, strong, beauteous or p r e c i o u s ; then the t h i r d stanza r e a p p l i e s the a d j e c t i v e to a C h r i s t i a n t e x t . LXXII "Sweet i s the dew," and sweet i s the a i r of Mount Hermon, more p o p u l a r l y known as S i o n . P a r t l y i n that i t i s a hi g h mountain p e r p e t u a l l y snow-caped, but more because i t i s the scene of the Lord's t r a n s f i g u r a t i o n . Sweet a l s o i s the impulse to e a r l y prayer. LXXIII The l i n e s of these stanzas serve best as i l l u s t r a - t i o n of t h e i r q u a l i t i e s : Sweet ,the young nurse, w i t h l o v e i n t e n s e , Which s m i l e s o'er s l e e p i n g innocence, 7 Sweet when the l o s t a r r i v e . Of the f i r s t two l i n e s Broadbent w r i t e s , "The syntax i s d o u b t f u l , the baby an a b s t r a c t i o n , the a l l i t e r a t i o n e x c e s s i v e , but the e s s e n t i a l impression i s made," (Broadbent, x i x ) . In these stanzas' which culminate the poem. Smart i s no l o n g e r drawing i n r e f e r e n c e s of great complexity. The ver s e i s by t h i s time s i m p l i f i e d and u p l i f t e d to the p o i n t that i t c a r r i e s the reader with i t w i l l y - n i l l y . Never — slow, the speed of A Song to David as a poem here p i c k s up, and the reader i s h u r l e d forward to the crescendo of 87 the f i n a l t hree stanzas. The t h i r d l i n e i s a r e f e r e n c e , though not l i m i t e d to t h a t , to the parable of the p r o d i g a l son. The phrase " h i s vague mind" r e f e r s t o the vagrant mind of the musician seeking the "sweets" of h i s a r t . LXXIV In the t h i r d s tanza of the group Smart makes h i s restatement and r e - a p p l i c a t i o n : Sweeter, i n a l l the s t r a i n s of l o v e , The language of thy t u r t l e dove, P a i r ' d to the s w e l l i n g chord. The r e f e r e n c e i s , again, to David. In'Psalm XXXTV David r e f e r s t o h i m s e l f i n these terms, "0 d e l i v e r not the s o u l of thy t u r t l e - d o v e unto the multitude of the wicked: f o r g e t not the congregation of thy poor f o r e v e r , " (Psalm LXXIv", 19). LXXV Th i s stanza, which i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y s u c c e s s f u l one, moves r a p i d l y and s t r o n g l y . . Smart s u p p l i e s the g l o s s f o r X i p h i a s as the sword f i s h . The theme of t h i s and the two f o l l o w i n g stanzas i s s t r e n g t h . There i s a r e f e r e n c e to the horse as s t r o n g i n Job: "Hast thou g i v e n the horse strength? hast thou c l o t h e d h i s neck with thunder?" (Job xxxix, 19). The o s t r i c h a l s o f i g u r e s i n Job: "Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and f e a t h e r s unto the o s t r i c h ? Which l e a v e t h her eggs i n the earth, and warmeth them i n dust," (Js,ob xxxix, 13 & 14). S e v e r a l 88 more images i n t h i s s e c t i o n come from Job. The re-appear- ance of groups of ideas found i n s i m i l a r arrangements i n books of the Old and New Testament suggests not so much tha t Smart was c u l l i n g images from memory, or n o t i n g down ideas read i n previous years, but th a t he was s u p p l i e d w i t h books while i n s c r i b i n g the Song, another reason f o r supposing t h a t he was a t l i b e r t y , e i t h e r w i t h i n or without the i n s t i t u t i o n , when he wrote A Song to David. LXXVI Th i s stanza extends the i l l u s t r a t i o n s of s t r e n g t h : Strong i s the l i o n - l i k e a c o a l H i s e y e b a l l - l i k e a b a s t i o n ' s mole His chest a g a i n s t the f o e s : Strong the g i e r - e a g l e on h i s s a i l Strong a g a i n s t t i d e the enormous whale Emerges as he goes. The l i o n , the eagle, and the whale are untamed c r e a t u r e s , and would be r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the sublime a c c o r d i n g t o Edmund"Burke. LXXVII The syntax i s i n v o l v e d here. The phrase, "And f a r beneath the t i d e , " i s p a r t of the s y n t a c t i c group before the second l i n e . Broadbent suggests that the second h a l f of the stanza r e f e r s not only to the C h r i s t i a n promise, • f- "Seek and ye s h a l l f i n d , " but a l s o to a masonic i n i t i a t i o n r i t u a l . 8 9 LXXVTII The beauty of t h i s stanza, as of the f o l l o w i n g one, i s apparent. The "meditated w i l d " of the f i f t h l i n e i s probably a r e f e r e n c e to the planned "n a t u r a l n e s s " of eighteenth-century landscape-gardening, though a p o s s i b l e . i n t e r p r e t a t i o n might have i t as t h e , w i l d country being meditated upon. LXXIX The r e f e r e n c e to the temple i s apparently t o Hebrew, o f f e r i n g s , though i t would/apply e q u a l l y w e l l to a C h r i s t i a n church. I t i s p o s s i b l e to see the whole stanza as a marriage ceremony, a l l the images r e l a t e w e l l to that theme. LXXX The shepherd k i n g i s David, t r u s t i n g i n Jehovah. Many jyar.idus^ r e f e r e n c e s are p o s s i b l e from David stooping f o r pebbles to s l a y G o l i a t h , to David i n h i s o l d age p r a y i n g to h i s God. The "mute" of the f i f t h l i n e i s a s h o r t form of "the mute rac e " meaning f i s h . In J u b i l a t e •Agno Smart has a phrase which may have suggested the l i n e : For the p r a i s e of God can g i v e to a mute f i s h the notes of a n i g h t i n g a l e . (JjA..B.l, 24) The l a s t l i n e recommends the p r o s t r a t e p o s i t i o n f o r a d o r a t i o n of the Creator, and p i c k s up the i d e a of man's o r i g i n i n dust and h i s eventual descent t h e r e t o . LXXXI The "extream d e l i g h t " i n " l a r g e s s from the c h u r l " i s g l o ssed hy Broadbent as r e f e r i n g to Nabal of • Carmel. I f so, the d e l i g h t was indeed "extream.". Nabal re f u s e d p r o v i s i o n s t o David and h i s men i n the wilderness a f t e r they had helped p r o t e c t h i s l a n d s . Mahal's wife, f e a r i n g David's wrath, not only took much good food to David, but upon the f o r t u i t o u s death of her husband a week l a t e r , married David. She was h i s second w i f e . A l b a i s "a white stone w i t h a 'new name' ( C h r i s t ) w r i t t e n i n i t , g i v e n to him that overcometh," i n Revela- t i o n . Broadbent has a f u r t h e r note which i s i n t e r e s t i n g i f not e s s e n t i a l to''this e x p l i c a t i o n : The s i g n i f i c a n c e i s u n c e r t a i n but the context r e l a t e s i t t o manna, with which precious stones were supposed to have f a l l e n . In h i s hymn f o r E a s t e r Day Smart r e l a t e s "The Morning S t a r ( C h r i s t ) and p e a r l of p r i c e (kingdom of The " f e a s t of bow'rs" i s the f e a s t of the t a b e r - n a c l e s which Smart r e f e r s to as "bowers" i n h i s Paraphrase o f the B i b l e . The d i s t i n c t i o n i s made i n t h i s stanza between s i n c e r e r e l i g i o u s observance and that which i s performed by r o t e , or i n form only. (Broadbent, p. 40) LXXXII 91 LXXXIII The c h a r a c t e r of David i s here once more giv e n that c r e d i t which Smart h e l d , q u i t e a r b i t r a r i l y , to be due: In a l l extreams, i n each event, Proof - answering true to t r u e . LXXX1V H e r e a f t e r the t h r e e c u l m i n a t i n g verses c a r r y the theme of the e x c e p t i o n a l l y b e a u t i f u l i n c r e a t i o n : G l o r i o u s the sun i n mid career; G l o r i o u s th*assembled f i r e s appear; G l o r i o u s the comet's t r a i n : G l o r i o u s the trumpet and alarm; G l o r i o u s th'Almighty str e t c h e d - o u t arm;' G l o r i o u s th'enraptured main. The probable date of composition f o r the Song i n 1759-60 makes not unreasonable the suggestion of a s p e c i f i c r e f e r e n c e to H a l l e y ' s comet which appeared i n 1758. The splendour of i t s passage i n s p i r e d awe and panic among the populace. The "stretched-out arm" i s a B i b l i c a l phrase f o r the power.of God. Broadbent notes that i t i s used e s p e c i a l l y when He r e t r i e v e d I s r a e l from Egypt; and thus perhaps the "enraptur'd main" i s the Red Sea. LXXXV The r e f e r e n c e of "hosannah from the den" i s presum- a b l y t o D a n i e l i n the den r e p l e t e with l i o n s . The l a s t s e c t i o n of A Song to David does not r e q u i r e e x p l i c a t i o n so much as a repeated r e a d i n g , so perhaps the l e a s t s a i d the b e t t e r . 92- LXXXVI The second word i n the f o u r t h l i n e , " a t , " has been changed t o " t h a t " by e a r l y e d i t o r s on the assumption that such was the author's i n t e n t . T h i s p r a c t i c e has been d i s c o n t i n u e d . Perhaps the verse i s more r e a d i l y under- ' standable w i t h the a l t e r n a t e p h r a s i n g . There have been arguments and c o n t r o v e r s i e s over the meaning of the l a s t t hree l i n e s of the Song. The e n t i r e poem culminates here i n the g r e a t e s t event i n the C h r i s t i a n world, the G r u e i f i c t i o n . The i d e a c a r r i e s over from the "marty's gore" of the previous stanza and i s made s p e c i f i c l y a r e f e r e n c e t o C h r i s t ' s s a c r i f i c e . The person addressed i n the f o u r t h l i n e i s David. The poem began with an i n v o c a t i o n to him, and ends w i t h a statement based on the b i b l i c a l r e c o r d - t h a t David b e l i e v e d i n , and indeed f o r e t o l d , the coming of the Sa v i o u r . T h i s i s the stupendous t r u t h which David a s s e r t e d . Through t h i s f a i t h he can l a y c l a i m t o h i s place i n heaven as a C h r i s t i a n . The poet continues "now,the matchless deed's a t c h i e v ' d ; " the Messiah has come and the end of the c r e a t i o n a t t a i n e d with the s a v i n g o f man. In t h i s poem, Smart i s not merely c r e a t i n g a l i s t of those t h i n g s i n the world which redound to the c r e d i t of the Almighty. He i s not i n t e r e s t e d i n p r o s e l y t i z i n g so much as p r o t r a y i n g the v i s i b l e world i n the way he saw i t . H i s enthusiasm, h i s b e l i e f , h i s f a i t h , and h i s untroubled acceptance pf a l l good, and of a l l as good, crowd i n upon the reader. The f e r v o r of the man i s communicated by way of a verse, s u c c e s s f u l not i n s p i t e of but because of i t s enthusiasm. 94 FOOTNOTES Ch r i s t o p h e r Smart, A Song to David, The C o l l e c t e d Poems of C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, ed. C a l l a n (London: 1947). p. 348, s t . 1. 11 John Donne, "La Corona,"The Penguin Poets, London, 1950, 12 ~ 7 1 ' l E d i t h S i t w e l l , The Pleasures of Poetry: A C r i t i c a l Anthology. V o l . 3, London: 1930-32, p. 76-77. - 13 ^Edmund Burke, An I n q u i r y i n t o the O r i g i n of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the B e a u t i f u l . London: 1757. ^ c f . Johnson's d i c t i o n a r y , BUD. n.s. /bouton, F r , / The f i r s t shoot of a p l a n t ; a gem. TO BUD. v.n. 1. To put f o r t h young shoots, or gems. GEM. h.s. 2. The f i r s t ^ b u d . 15 On the Immensity of the Supreme Being, The C o l l e c t e d Poems of C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, ed. CallanV London: 1949, p. &>9. 1 6 T h e Monthly Review. A p r i l , 1763, v o l . XXVIII, p. 320. 17 'A mock-epic poem, "The H i l l i a d , " was p u b l i s h e d by Smart i n 1753. CHAPTER I I I CONCLUSION ( i ) L inks with Other Poems by Smart That A Song to David i s not unique i n form of theme must appear from an examination of Smart's other d e v o t i o n a l poetry. The same form and s i m i l a r themes r e c u r . Smart re p e a t e d l y attempts an i n t e g r a t i o n of C h r i s t i a n with Hebraic and C l a s s i c a l elements. H i s Psalms were w r i t t e n " i n the s p i r i t of C h r i s t i a n i t y , " w i t h instances of v i o l e n c e , omitted.* :, Smart and the David he creates i n h i s Psalms make frequent r e f e r e n c e s to C h r i s t and appeals to Him f o r a i d . This p r a c t i c e i s s i m i l a r to the poet's r e - p h r a s i n g of the Decalogue i n A Song to David to r e p l a c e the harsh Hebraic commands w i t h m i l d e r New Testament p r e c e p t s . The a t t i t u d e of a d o r a t i o n i s , as has been shown, i n t e g r a l t o Smart's e a r l i e r p o e t i c a l essays on the a t t r i b u t e s of the Supreme Being. Throughout the t r a n s l a - t i o n s of the Psalms the same theme i s taken up, and i t i s re-worked i n the Hymns. The a t t i t u d e i s apparent i n J u b i l a t e Agno and i t t r a n s f i g u r e s A Song to David. Items from Smart's other w r i t i n g s reappear f r e q u e n t l y i n the Song. Images and phrases from both J u b i l a t e Agno and the Psalms f i g u r e prominently. In A Song to David, the angels are s a i d to march upon the " g l o r i o u s a r c h " which 96 i s supported by the p i l l a r l a b e l l e d Gamma. The same rhyme and image are used i n Psalm CIV: His c h a r i o t s are the r o l l i n g clouds Upon t h ' e t h e r i a l a r ch; And on the r a p i d winds t h e i r wings M a j e s t i c a l , the k i n g of Kings Walks i n h i s awful march. (Psalm CIV, s t . 3) The m a t e r i a l of the Psalm has been reformed and re-used i n the Song. The image of the Whale i s l e s s v i t a l l y "impressed" i n the Psalm than i n the l a t t e r poem: And some of huge enormous, bulk The s w e l l i n g f l o o d s surmount. (Psalm 017) Strong a g a i n s t t i d e , th*enormous whale Emerges as he goes. (S.D. LXXVI) Other s i m i l a r groupings of images occur between Psalm ct-V and A Song to David. In A Song to David, Smart i d e n t i f i e s Satan with the e v i l s p i r i t which torments S a u l . The Adversary f i g u r e s i n a s i m i l a r way i n the Psalms. In Psalm X I I I the poet says "But I to thy d i c t a t e s agree, / Which save me from Satan and S a u l . " The poet i s i n t r o d u c i n g anachronisms here, but i s c o n s i s t e n t i n h i s p r a c t i c e . ' The i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between David and Smart on the one hand, and between David and C h r i s t on the other, an i n t e g r a l p a r t of A Song to David, stems from the poet's work upon the Psalms. In Psalm XXVII the poet i s 97 a d d r e s s i n g C h r i s t i n h i s own person i n stanza n i n e , and aski n g God's continued support of David i n stanza ten, without apparent change of mood or break i n syntax. The poet so c l e a r l y assumes the c h a r a c t e r of the p s a l m i s t t h a t the reader can h a r d l y d i s t i n g u i s h between the two persons i n v o l v e d . The t i e between David and C h r i s t as h i s "son", o r descendant, i s made evident by Smart in.Psalm I/V " i t . was even Thou, a p a r t of David." I t i s David's c l a i m to the p o s i t i o n of eminence which he holds i n the Song t h a t he i s the type of C h r i s t . H i s a n n o i n t i n g and d e d i c a t i o n make David one o f the " e l e c t . " I t seems t o be Smart's b e l i e f t h a t . a l l that David does i s acceptable to God. The C a l v i n i s t d o c t r i n e of p r e d e s t i n a t i o n was o f t e n i n t e r p r e t e d t o g i v e the "chosen" l i c e n s e - how could a person accepted a t b i r t h by the D e i t y as one of the e l e c t s i n s u f f i c i e n t l y t o l o s e h i s p l a c e i n heaven? Because he a l s o i s one of the e l e c t , David remains i n the favour of God d u r i n g a l i f e of bloodshed and indulgence. Smart, the successor to David as p s a l m i s t and a Rev i v e r of Ado r a t i o n , must a l s o be saved. ( i i ) Comparison w i t h Some Other Poets The attempt to make poetry out of b i b l i c a l s t o r y i s no longer a popular form of l i t e r a r y endeavour, but i n i t s day i t had a l o t to recommend i t . l o t only d i d the author have before him a model of l i t e r a r y i n t e r e s t and worth - the promptings of p i e t y and the r e c o g n i t i o n of thematic i n t e r e s t both l e n t t h e i r weight to the c h o i c e . M i l t o n ' s great success with h i s e p i c seems r a t h e r to have spurred the ambitious on to emulate him, than to have d e t e r r e d the timorous from the r a s h attempt. A comparison with works of a s i m i l a r nature by- other poets makes apparent the great success of Smart" i n A Song to David. Abraham Cowley drew upon the b i b l i c a l s t o r y of David f o r h i s D a v i d e i s , Mathew P r i o r u t i l i z e d proverbs and E c c l e s i a s t e s f o r h i s Solomon,, and Robert Browning took a part of the Book of Samuel f o r h i s poem "Sa u l . " Each poet t r e a t s h i s s u b j e c t with a c e r t a i n degree of freedom. None of the poems compares wi t h A Song to David i n i n s p i r a t i o n a l achievement or t e c h n i c a l e x c e l l e n c e . Abraham Cowley's D a v i d e i s (1668) i s a poem much s l i g h t e r than Smart's i n scope and execution. L i k e M i l t o n , the poet invokes a heavenly muse, i n t h i s case C h r i s t , a s k i n g the D e i t y to; Guid my bold steps with t h i n e o l d t r a v ' e l l i n g flame, In these untrodden paths t o Sacred Pame.l 99' But Cowley's muse lead s him, i n most p e d e s t r i a n f a s h i o n through f o u r books of iambic pentameter, rhymed i n c o u p l e t s , and l a c k i n g i n charm. The poet i s i l l - e q u i p p e d to r e a l i z e h i s avowed i n t e n t : Lo, t h i s great work, a Temple to thy p r a i s e , On p o l i s h t P i l l a r s of Strong Verse I r a i s e . ( D a v i d e i s . p. 243) The metre o f t e n breaks, the rhymes are not always t r u e , the whole i s u n i n s p i r e d . Cowley's attempt a t an i n f e r n a l parliament, i s a poor t h i n g not to be compared w i t h M i l t o n ' s success w i t h t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l C h r i s t i a n epic component. The h a b i t of i t a l i c i z i n g the words designed f o r . emphasis, though p o s s i b l y necessary, i s i l l - a p p l i e d . Long passages of ornate d e s c r i p t i o n are i n c l u d e d a p p a r e n t l y to d i s p l a y the " a r t " of the author. The care and i n d u s t r y which produced the copious notes f o l l o w i n g each chapter must win f o r the author the p l a u d i t s of the reader who manages to reach them. They comprise b i b l i c a l r e f e r e n c e and quotations f o r many l i n e s of the work. They are o f t e n more rewarding than the accompanying t e x t but they are f r e q u e n t l y u n i n t e l l i g i b l e without r e f e r e n c e to the poem. The c h a r i t a b l e r e ader may suppose the f i g u r e s to ; have been considered " p o e t i c a l " by t h e i r author. That i s , they are f l a t , stereotyped, unenlivened by any i n d i v i d u a l 100 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . l i k e Smart, however, Cowley i s i n t e n t on p o r t r a y i n g David as innocent and meek. The shepherd-king, as the type of C h r i s t , i s the c e n t r a l aspect of the D a v i d i a n c h a r a c t e r . In h i s poem. Solomon on the V a n i t y of the World, Matthew P r i o r expresses a v e r y d i f f e r e n t philosophy from Smart's. Adopting the c h a r a c t e r of the son of David, P r i o r animadverts on the f u t i l e nature of the s t r u g g l e i f o r happiness through Knowledge, Pleasure, or Power. Taking passages from Proverbs and E c c l e s i a s t e s f o r h i s t e x t , he c r e a t e s a s o l i l o q u y the s u b j e c t of which i s t h i s : The Pleasures of L i f e do not compensate the M i s e r i e s : Age s t e a l s upon Us anawares; and Death, as the only Cure of our I l l s , ought to be expected,, but not feared.2 The m o t i f running through the three books of the poem" i s " A l l i s V a n i t y . " P r i o r seems i n complete accord with the c o n c l u s i o n to which Solomon comes. P r i o r has time to enquire i n r h e t o r i c a l f a s h i o n i n t o many of the objects of the n a t u r a l world t h a t i n t e r e s t e d Smart, i n c l u d i n g such p h i l o s o p h i c a l , a s t r o n o m i c a l and a g r i c u l t u r a l phenomena as are t r e a t e d by Smart i n J u b i l a t e Agno. The d i s c u s s i o n ranges through botany: Why does one Climate, and one S o i l endue The b l u s h i n g Poppy with a crimson Hue, Yet l e a v e the L i l l y p a l e , and t i n g e the V i o l e t blue? (Solomon I, p. 266) 101 The c r e a t u r e s of the sea i n t r i g u e P r i o r as they do Smart: Of Pi s h e s next, my F r i e n d s , I would enquire, How the mute Race engender, or r e s p i r e ; From the s m a l l F r y t h a t g l i d e on JORDAN'S Stream ' Unrnark'd, a M u l t i t u d e without a name, To t h a t Leviathan, who o'er the Seas Immense r o l l s onward h i s impetuous Ways And mocks the Wind, and i n the Tempest plays.' (Solomon I, p. 267) Then P r i o r ' s q u e s t i n g mind touches on many of the su b j e c t s of David's song - of B i r d s , and Beasts, and Bees, of i n s t i n c t , and astronomy. But where Smart and David s i n g , P r i o r and Solomon q u e s t i o n . The e x i s t e n c e of the D e i t y i s p o s t u l a t e d , not accepted on f a i t h . P r i o r reasons that the many t h i n g s of the world, a l l unexplained, must have A F i r s t , a.Source, a L i f e , a D e i t y ; What has f o r ever been, and must f o r ever be. (Solomon I, p. 274) There i s a s i m i l a r r e a c t i o n to the s t a r s on the p a r t of both P r i o r and Smart: Yet these great Orbs thus r a d i c a l l y b r i g h t , P r i m i t i v e Founts, and O r i g i n s of L i g h t . (Solomon I, p. 277) The poet suggests, as M i l t o n and Pope had, and as Smart does i n J u b i l a t e Agno, t h a t other suns may have t h e i r own p l a n e t s and support other r a c e s . A refere n c e to G-od i s couched i n the same terms from R e v e l a t i o n which Smart u t i l i z e s : This ALPHA and OMEGA, F i r s t and L a s t , Who l i k e the P o t t e r i n a Mould has cast The World's great frame. (Solomon I, p. 281) 102 Whereas Smart c e l e b r a t e s a l l knowledge as a way to a ap- proach nearer t o an understanding of the Almighty, P r i o r w r i t e s : In v a i n we l i f t up our presumptuous Eyes To what our Maker to t h e i r Ken de n i e s . (Solomon I, p. 283) The message of the p i e c e i s e x p l i c i t : V arious D i s c u s s i o n s t e a r our heated B r a i n : Opinions o f t e n t u r n ; s t i l l Doubts remain, And who Indulges thought, i n c r e a s e s P a i n . (Solomon I, p. 283) In case the obtuse reader has not understood, P r i o r under- l i n e s : Remember, th a t the cu^s'd D e s i r e to know, O f f - s p r i n g of ADAM, was thy Source of Woe. (Solomon I, p. 284) Not having found happiness i n Knowledge, Solomon tu r n s , i n Book Two, to P l e a s u r e . He "concludes t h a t as to the P u r s u i t of Plea s u r e , and sensual D e l i g h t , A l l i s VANITY AND VEXATION OF SPIRIT," (Solomon I I , p. 285). In t h i s book, Solomon d i s c o u r s e s on gardens, music, dancing, and d r i n k i n g ; a l l are found wanting. Smart d e l i g h t e d i n each o f these. Solomon i s s c a r c e l y e n t h u s i a s t i c about the l i f e l e d by h i s f a t h e r , David: My Father's L i f e was one Long L i n e of Care, A Scene of Danger, and a s t a t e of War. (Solomon I I , p. 327) 1 0 3 T h i s i s not the view of David's l i f e which Smart wishes t o present. Smart emphasizes harmony and enjoyment i n the world, g e n e r a l l y , and i n the ex i s t e n c e of the great King. P r i o r ' s stand i s not j u b i l a n t : The c r a d l e and the Tomb; A l a s ! so nigh; To l i v e i s scarce d i s t i n g u i s h e d from to dye. (Solomon I I , p. 3 3 0 ) In the T h i r d Book P r i o r or Solomon: . , Considers Man through the s e v e r a l Stages and Con d i t i o n s o f L i f e ; and concludes i n g e n e r a l , t h a t We are a l l M i s e r a b l e . (Solomon I I I , p. 332) He indulges i n melancholy s o u l - s e a r c h i n g : What Pause from Woe, What h 0pes of Comfort b r i n g The Name of Wise or Great, of Judge or King? (Solomon I I I , p. 3 3 3 ) The poet concludes: A v a i l s i t then, 0 Reason, t o be Wise? To see t h i s c r u e l scene with q u i c k e r Eyes. (Solomon I I I , p. 3 3 5 ) Smart's j u b i l a n t approach to a world m a n i f e s t i n g the b o u n t i f u l l o v e o f a b e n e f i c e n t Being i s f o r e i g n to P r i o r . H i s r e l i g i o n , as i t appears i n Solomon,is a lug u b r i o u s and dismal one, s u f f i c i e n t , perhaps, t o keep man on the approved path through f e a r , but not pleasant enough f o r him to l i k e the road he t r a v e l s . In consequence, the d e l i g h t of Smart's b e t t e r verse i s l a c k i n g . 1 0 4 Other d i f f e r e n c e s between the two poems p r e v a i l . D e spite h i s p r e f a t o r y p r o t e s t a t i o n s that "He that w r i t e s i n Ehimes, dances i n F e t t e r s , " P r i o r performs i n iambic pentameter rhymed c o u p l e t s . Each couplet has, as P r i o r notes, something of the p o i n t of an aphorism, but the verse does not move as f r e e l y as Pope's e x e r c i s e s i n the same form. Although the i n t e l l e c t o f the reader is- engaged, and h i s sense approves, h i s passions are untouched. The poem does not u p l i f t as does A Song t o David. Browning's poem "Saul" proclaims the impression of i t s author's acquaintance with the work of Smart. Although i t i s v e r y d i f f e r e n t i n s t y l e , and content, the poem shares w i t h Smart's that aura o f the miraculous which makes A Song to David a t h i n g a p a r t . The poem "Saul" c o n s i s t s l a r g e l y of the songs which David s i n g s to soothe the t r o u b l e d s p i r i t of h i s k i n g . Two stanzas o f preamble l e a d i n t o the l y r i c s e c t i o n i n which Browning r e - c r e a t e s the words of David. The songs i n question, though more i n s p i r e d than those of Cowley, do not t h r i l l the reader. The p o e t r y i s not Browning's b e s t . I t r e v e a l s l i t t l e of David's c h a r a c t e r ; but t h a t l i t t l e f o l l o w s the t r a d i t i o n o f d e p i c t i n g David as a m i l d and C h r i s t - l i k e f i g u r e , d e d i c a t e d t o God and to h i s k i n g . The aura of the miraculous overspreads the l a s t stanzas, and Browning in t i m a t e s t h a t David i s there i n d i r e c t communication with 105 h i s God. The poem does not manage to u p l i f t the reader and remove him to another world. Of;the three poems, D a v i d e i s , Solomon, and "Saul," the l a s t i s nearest to A Song t o David i n concept. Browning wishes to suggest the awe-inspired r e l a t i o n s h i p of the poet to h i s God,which Smart ach i e v e s . He attempts t o d i s p l a y c r e a t i o n i n the magic l i g h t of d i v i n e "benefi- cence. He almost succeeds. Pew of the great r e l i g i o u s poets i n the language have achieved the p o r t r a i t of man a t peace and i n a s t a t e of grace, i n d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s God. M i l t o n managed i t , o f course, i n the Garden of Eden i n Paradise L o s t . But the exigencies e i t h e r of c h a r a c t e r or p l o t compelled him to loo s e h i s hold upon the v i s i o n which Smart c o n t r i v e s t o r e t a i n . Contemporaries of Smart chose t o i l l u s t r a t e the same theme o f a d o r a t i o n . The hymns of Watts, the Wesleys, M e r r i c k and many others t e l l of the g l o r i e s of the Cre a t o r . Pew of them do so i n the metre of A Song t o David. The B e n e d i c i t e Paraphrased, i s the most outstanding exception. W r i t t e n , or a t l e a s t p u b l i s h e d , i n 1746, t h i s poem was recognized by Robert B r i t t a i n as being of the same s t u f f as Smart's Song. In an a r t i c l e i n PMLA (March 1941), he a s s e r t s t h a t Smart wrote i t . Though he was mistaken, and the poem was subsequently r e s t o r e d to James Merrick, h i s a r t i c l e b r i n g s out the remarkable s i m i l a r i t i e s between 106 The B e n e d i c i t e Paraphrased and A Song to David. The theme, the metre, and the syntax are o b v i o u s l y of the same k i n d . - The poem commences as Smart might have done: Ye works of God, on him alone, In E a r t h h i s F o o t s t o o l , Heaven h i s Throne, Be a l l your P r a i s e bestow*d; Whose Hand the beauteous F a b r i c k made, Whose eye the f i n i s h ! d Work survey*d, And saw t h a t A l l was Good .3 The poet continues to ask angels, P l a n e t s , Dews, winds, Floods, L i g h t and v a r i o u s creatures to p r a i s e the D e i t y . Those stanzas that seem l e a s t l i k e Smart's work i n the Song have a p a r a l l e l i n one of the Psalms or Hymns of Smart. S e v e r a l verses a t t a i n near to the command of the author of A Song to David: Ye Trees, that f i l l the r u r a l Scene, Ye Flowers, that o'er t h ' enamel'd Green In n a t i v e Beauty r e i g n , 0! p r a i s e the R u l e r o f the S k i e s , Whose Hand the g e n i a l Sap s u p p l i e s , And c l o t h e s the s m i l i n g P l a i n . Ye s e c r e t . S p r i n g s , ye g e n t l e R i l l s , That murm'ring r i s e among the H i l l s , Or f i l l the humble Vale; P r a i s e him, a t whose Almighty Nod The rugged Rock d i s s o l v i n g flow'd And form'd a s p r i n g i n g W e l l . P r a i s e him, ye Floods; and Seas profound, Whose Waves the spacious E a r t h surround, And r o l l from Shore to Shore; Aw'd by h i s Voice, ye Seas, subside, Ye Floods, w i t h i n your Channels g l i d e , And tremble and adore. Ye Whales, that s t i r the b o i l i n g Deep, Or i n i t s dark Recesses s l e e p , Remote from human Eye; P r a i s e him, by whom ye a l l are f e d , P r a i s e him, without whose heavenly A i d Ye l a n g u i s h , f a i n t , and d i e . 107 Ye B i r d s , e x a l t your Maker's Name, Begin, and with th'important Theme Your a r t l e s s Lays improve; Wake w i t h your Songs, the r i s i n g Lay, Let Musick sound on ev'ry Spray, And f i l l the v o c a l Grove. P r a i s e him, ye Beasts, that. N i g h t l y roam Amid the s o l i t a r y Gloom, Th' expected Prey t o s e i z e ; Ye Slaves of the Laborious Plough, Your stubborn Necks submissive bow, and bend your weary'd Knees. I t i s understandable that c r i t i c s should accept B r i t t a i n ' s a t t r i b u t i o n of these stanzas to Smart. However, although the poem was pu b l i s h e d anonimously by Dodsley i n 1746, i t was a t t r i b u t e d to M e r r i c k by him i n . h i s six-volume c o l l e c t i o n o f 1770, and a l s o p r i n t e d i n contemporary magazines wi t h the author's name. The use of "Ye" to commence the stanzas i s a - t y p i c a l o f Smart, There i s not q u i t e the c r i s p n e s s and c l a r i t y of the Song, but only that "impression" to which Smart a t t a i n e d i n h i s l a s t years i s l a c k i n g . 108 FOOTNOTES Abraham Cowley, D a v i d e i s . Poems. M i s c e l l a n i e s , The M i s t r e s s . P i n d a r i c u e Odes, Verses W r i t t e n on S e v e r a l Occasions, Cambridge, 1905. 2 Matthew P r i o r , Solomon on the V a n i t y of the World, I n t r o d u c t i o n . 3 James Merrick, The B e n e d i c i t e Paraphrased, quoted i n "An E a r l y Model f o r Smart's A Song t o David," by Robert B r i t t a i n , PMLA, March, 1941, V o l . LVI, p. 165-17.4. ( i i i ) A Song t o David i s Unique i n i t s A e s t h e t i p Achievement The achievement of A Song t o David has been v a r i o u s l y estimated s i n c e i t s p u b l i c a t i o n . Pew of the l i t e r a r y f i g u r e s of the day who saw i t expressed t h e i r l i k i n g i n p r i n t . Boswell saw something i n i t , but the poem d i d not gi v e him u n a l l o y e d p l e a s u r e . The work sank i n t o o b l i v i o n f o r some time. In 1820, a review i n The London Magazine suggests'that the poem bears " i n t e r n a l evidence of i t s b i r t h p l a c e ; or at l e a s t , t h a t i t s author was "of imagin a t i o n a l l compact.'"^ S i m i l a r , and harsher, judgements continued to be p r i n t e d w e l l i n t o the twent i e t h century. I t was l e f t t o the Pre-Raphaelites to reco g n i z e A Song t o David as a work of genius. R o s s e t t i termed i t "the only great accomplished poem" of the century, (The Atheneum) Browning's r e a c t i o n i s well-known. He a l l u d e s to i t i n a few l i n e s i n Pa r a c e l s u s , and addresses Smart as the r e c i p i e n t of d i v i n e i n s p i r a t i o n i n h i s P a r l e y i n g s with C e r t a i n People.^ His e u l o g i e s may have r e s t o r e d the poem to the r e a d i n g p u b l i c . Browning's own poem, " S a u l , " owes i t s i n s p i r a t i o n , though not i t s form, t o Smart's i n f l u e n c e . Since Browning wrote, some hundreds of notes and short a r t i c l e s have been w r i t t e n on or about A Song to 110 David. I t has been v a r i o u s l y heralded as unique and miraculous, as obscure and mad. Many e d i t i o n s of the poem c o n t a i n s m a l l g l o s s e s which help the reader with such words as the e d i t o r f e e l s may be u n f a m i l i a r . .Recent l o n g e r a r t i c l e s on Smart have done much to d i s p e l the o b s c u r i t y which has remained the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the poem f o r many. The reader who cares t o c o r r e l a t e p revious g l o s s e s , recent e x p l i c a t i o n , and h i s own e n q u i r i e s , can cr e a t e an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the poem which makes c l e a r a t l e a s t the s a l i e n t p o i n t s and adds much to the r e a d i n g of the p i e c e . I t i s Smart's stand that he, l i k e David, can recognize the p r a i s e o f f e r e d by the creatures of the world to t h e i r C r e a t o r : I speak f o r a l l - f o r them that f l y , And f o r the race that swim; For a l l t h a t dwell i n moist and dry, Beasts, r e p t i l e s , f l o w ' r s and gems that v i e When g r a t i t u d e begins her hymn. (Hymn VI, s t . 9) I t i s the measure of h i s success that he o f t e n manages to ca t c h the s p i r i t of such a u n i v e r s a l o f f e r i n g o f p i e t y , and convey the impression to h i s read e r s . In A Song to David as i n Hymn XXXII, Smart makes manifest the presence o f h i s God on e a r t h : God all-bounteous, a l l - c r e a t i v e , Whom no i l l s from good disuade, Is i n c a r n a t e , and a n a t i v e Of the very world he made. I l l I t i s p a r t of -the charm of i;he Song t h a t i t i s Smart's God, and the world Smart made, ..which i s a l i v e i n the poem. The D e i t y Smart d e p i c t s i s not the t r a d i t i o n a l Church of England a b s t r a c t i o n ; nor i s Smart's David the h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e . The poet has c u l l e d the most j o y f u l and tender aspects of the C h r i s t i a n legend and r e - c r e a t e d a l o v i n g and joyous D e i t y , an achievement one h a r d l y expects to f i n d i n the w r i t i n g s of a man who went to London where, l i k e the P r o d i g a l Son of the Parable: soon, i n o r d i n a t e l y gay, He wasted a l l he d i d possess In r i o t i n g and rank excess. (Parable XXIV, C a l l a n , p.884) I t i s p r e c i s e l y because Smart i s f r e e with h i s m a t e r i a l , c r e a t i n g h i s own David, h i s own God, and h i s own world, t h a t he i s a b l e to p o r t r a y that a i r of innocence, joy, and hope which i s so l a r g e a p a r t of the appeal of the v e r s e . I t i s an exaggerated p o s i t i o n to say that Smart was out of touch w i t h r e a l i t y . But the man who could w r i t e even J u b i l a t e Agno i n an asylum, and the Hymns f o r the Amusement of C h i l d r e n while being hounded and. persecuted f o r . d e b t , i s not of the common mass. Smart g i v e s l i f e and a.harmonious v i g o u r to a theme n e i t h e r o r i g i n a l nor popular. The poetry of r e l i g i o u s p r a i s e makes l i t t l e appeal to the modern reader, but i f he p i c k s up A Song to David, he w i l l o f t e n f i n d much to d e l i g h t and not a l i t t l e to i n t r i g u e him.. Although the poem can be 112 dipped i n t o with enjoyment, i t does not y i e l d a l l i t s r i c h e s t o a c a s u a l or u n t h i n k i n g p e r u s a l . But i t repays w i t h a r e d o u b l i n g of d e l i g h t and an extension o f re f e r e n c e the e f f o r t r e q u i r e d to come to know.it. Many poets have w r i t t e n w e l l on r e l i g i o u s s u b j e c t s ; many undoubtedly b e t t e r than Smart. Pew, however, have been b e t t e r r e l i g i o u s poets i n the sense that they not only convey the sense of t h e i r own devotion, but i n s p i r e t h a t response i n t h e i r r e a d e r s . The cumulative e f f e c t of Smart's masterpiece i s one of i n s p i r a t i o n and j o y . The reader does not have t o be a C h r i s t i a n ; he i s caught up by the poet's enthusiasm and made to see the world as the poet sees i t . And that v i s i o n i s e c s t a t i c and j o y f u l . FOOTNOTES 4The London .Magazine. March, 1820, p. 321-22. 5 W i l l i a m Michael R o s s e t t i , The Atheneum. F e b . 19, 1887. Rohert Browning, P a r l e y i n g s with C e r t a i n People of Importance i n T h e i r Day. London, 1887, No. 3. 114 BIBLIOGRAPHY Ainsworth, E.G. & Noyes, C.E. "Christopher Smart - A B i o g r a p h i c a l and C r i t i c a l Study," U n i v e r s i t y of M i s s o u r i S t u d i e s . V o l . XVIII, No. 4, p. 6-164, Columbia, 1943. B r i t t a i n , Robert. "An E a r l y Model f o r Smart's A Song to David," PMLA, March, 1941, Vol.'LVI, p. 165-174." Browning, Robert. Poems of Robert Browning, London, 1905. Browning,, Robert. P a r l e y i n g s with C e r t a i n People of Importance i n T h e i r Day, London, 1887. Cowley, Abraham, Poems: M i s c e l l a n i e s , The M i s t r e s s , P i n d a r i c u e Odes, D a v i d e i s , Verses W r i t t e n on S e v e r a l Occasions, Cambridge, 1905.' ~ Cragg, Gerald, R. The P e l i c a n H i s t o r y of the Church, V o l . 4, The Church and the Age of Reason 1648-1789, B r i s t o l , Delany, P a t r i c k , An H i s t o r i c a l Account of the L i f e and Reign of David King of I s r a e l , D u b l i n , 1740; D e v l i n , C h r i s t o p h e r , Poor K i t Smart, London, 1961. De Vane, W.C. Browning's P a r l e y i n g : The Autobiography of a Mind. New Haven, 1927. P a i r c h i l d , Hoxie N. R e l i g i o u s Trends i n E n g l i s h Poetry, V o l . I I , R e l i g i o u s Sentimeritalism i n the Age of Johnson, New York, 1942. ' Gray, G.J. "A B i b l i o g r a p h y of the W r i t i n g s of C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, w i t h B i o g r a p h i c a l References," T r a n s a c t i o n s of the B i b l i o g r a p h i c a l S o c i e t y , V o l . VI, p. 269-^-303, London, 1893-1920. Grigson, Geoffrey, C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, Writers and T h e i r Work, No. 136, London, I960. " Havens, R.D. "The S t r u c t u r e of Smart's Song to David," i n RES., 1938, v o l . XIV, p. 178-182. H i l l , G.B. Boswell's L i f e of Johnson, V o l . 6, Oxford, 1934. McKenzie, K.A. C h r i s t o p h e r Smart: Sa V i e et Ses Oeuvres, P a r i s , 1925. 115 Mc. K i l l o p , A.D. "The B e n e d i c i t e Paraphrased: A r e p l y to R.E. B r i t t a i n , " PMLA, June, 1943. V o l . 1VIII, p. 582. M i l e s , Josephine, Eras & Modes i n E n g l i s h Poetry. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1957. S i t w e l l , Edith,.The Pleasures of Poetry: A C r i t i c a l Anthology. V o l . 3, London, 1930-1932. Smart, C h r i s t o p h e r , A Song to David, ed., J.B. Broadbent, Cambridge, I960. A Song to David, ed., H i l l y e r , A., Los Angeles, 1934. " A Song to ^ a v i d . S t r e a t f e i l d , London, 1901. A Song to David. ed.,'J.R. T u t i n , London, 1904. A Song to David and Other Poems, ed., R. Todd, London, 1947. ' ' ' " . Hymns f o r the Amusement of C h i l d r e n . Oxford, 1947. _ _ J u b i l a t e Agno. ed., W.H. Bond, Cambridge, Mass., 1954. Poems by C h r i s t o p h e r Smart, ed., R. B r i t t a i n , P r i n c e t o n , 1950. Reaoice i n the Lamb, A Song from Bedlam, ed., W.F. Stead, London, 1939. The Midwife. London, 1741-3. Wesley, John, A C o l l e c t i o n of Hymns, f o r Use of the People c a l l e d Methodists, London, 1779.

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City Views Downloads
Unknown 72 23
Tokyo 6 0
Amsterdam 5 0
Chihuahua 4 0
Beijing 4 0
Mountain View 3 1
Redmond 3 2
Nottingham 2 0
Melbourne 1 0
Saint-Chamond 1 0
Christchurch 1 3
Cambridge 1 0
Guangzhou 1 0

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