Chris Mounsey

At first sight, Christopher Smart's Jubilate Agno is a strange-looking poem for the eighteenth century. Written with apparently no regard for the rhyme or rhythm by which we usually characterize poetry of the period, the Jubilate Agno looks like a collection of random sentences whose only claim to be called a poem may be that each line begins with the word "Let" or "For." Such compulsive repetition could be used to lend support to the rumor that Christopher Smart was mad when he wrote it. There is even a fantastic story that he wrote the poem by scratching it with a key upon the wainscoting (the wooden paneling) of his isolation cell in a lunatic asylum after he was deprived of pen and paper. But this tale is without foundation. The autograph manuscript of the poem, written in pen and on paper, is kept in the Houghton Library of Harvard University.

Though it is true that Smart was incarcerated in a charity madhouse from 1757 to 1758, and then in a private asylum from 1759 to 1763, the period in which he wrote the Jubilate Agno, there is no other evidence to corroborate a diagnosis of insanity. On the other hand, there is much to suggest that Smart was simply one of many victims of the madhouse system, where abuses were rife, and through which unwanted or annoying relatives and business associates could be disposed of for a price, with no questions asked. Furthermore, the view that the Jubilate Agno is the work of a madman is hard to sustain when it is read alongside his other works from the madhouse years: A Song to David, a poem on a similar theme written in an exact rhythm and rhyme scheme; and a metrical translation of all 150 Psalms. It has been argued (Feder 1980) that the Jubilate Agno might represent the disordered dimension of a schizoid personality, while the Song and Psalms represent the orderly. But such a description falters when we discover on closer scrutiny that the Jubilate Agno is marked by as careful an internal and external coherence as are the other works. But, unlike the conventionally metrical poems, the Jubilate Agno does not give up its secrets easily.

The Jubilate Agno testifies to its authorship by a Cambridge academic with an extraordinary facility in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, science, religion, and philosophy.

Furthermore, Smart had a penchant for associative wordplay within and between the languages and terminologies he knew. He was also a sought-after lyricist of popular songs, and a well-known beer drinker. Locked away for seven years, for the last four of which his reading matter was restricted to the Bible, five reference books — Ainsworth's Thesaurus Linguae Latinae Compendiarius (1736), William Salmon's Pharmacopoeia Londinensis (1707), John Hill's Useful Family Herbal (1754), Phillip Miller's Gardener's Dictionary (1731), and John Hill's History of Plants (1748—52) — and an uncertain supply of newspapers, Christopher Smart wrote his Jubilate Agno in a regular, if unusual form: a poem that is a cryptic crossword puzzle with the world outside as its grid.

In its scope the poem reflects the many sides of Smart's personality. It is highly personal and profane in its attacks upon the people Smart did not like. In this it stands shoulder to shoulder with Pope's Dunciad. But at the same time it is a theological handbook concerning deeply held Anglican beliefs. In its religiosity, the Jubilate Agno could be compared with Edward Young's Night Thoughts (first published in 1742). Smart's poem is also, literally, an encyclopedia of the natural history of plants, animals, and minerals. This aspect of the Jubilate Agno reflects the encyclopedic tendency of the eighteenth century during which, following the work of Linnaeus, many thousands of taxonomies were produced. Unsurprisingly, such a plethora of taxonomic studies were all hopelessly at odds with one another. After his years in Cambridge University, Smart was very familiar with the struggles between scientists, and his Jubilate Agno is also a satire on intellectual vanity, in particular the belief that it was possible to give a name to everything in the world. Exemplary in each of these four genres — personal invective, religious poetry, popular science, and moral satire — the Jubilate Agno is a poem of its age.

The title, Jubilate Agno ("Rejoice in the Lamb"), reflects the title of the hundredth psalm, Jubilate Deo ("Rejoice in God"). To introduce his poem with the word Jubilate suggests Smart held an Anglican belief in the uniformity of worship. The hundredth psalm, often known simply as "The Jubilate," was then, and is now, in daily use in Anglican morning service. With other, frequently used psalms and Hebrew poems, it is known as a "canticle." However, Smart's modification of deo to agno evokes a shift in emphasis from God to Jesus, the Son of God, who is known as the "Lamb of God" in the Gospel of St. John. Smart's title, therefore, seems to suggest both conformity in worship and some modification of the regular forms.

The poem itself was written on very large (double folio size) sheets of paper. It was originally composed at a varying rate of one, two, or three pairs of lines a day (where a pair of lines is one line beginning with "Let" and another beginning with "For"). The "Let" lines were grouped on one page, and the corresponding "For" lines on another. W. H. Bond, in his edition of Jubilate Agno (1954), worked out the "double" structure of the poem by matching contemporary dates which occasionally occur in both a "Let" and a "For" line. Since several pages have been lost or reworked, for many parts of the poem we have only either the "Let" lines or the "For" lines without the corresponding pairs. As we shall see below, the poem generates meaning both by "vertical" references (that is, between succeeding "Let" lines and between succeeding "For" lines) and by "horizontal" references (that is, between a "Let" line and its corresponding "For" line.

The fact that the "Let" and "For" lines of the poem were written on separate pages might suggest that it was meant for performance of some kind, by two speakers standing apart from one another, one of whom read a "Let" line, followed by the other, who read the corresponding "For" line. The alternate sounding of irregular length lines, in turn, echoes the performance of psalms and canticles in an Anglican church, and brings us back to the title. Antiphonal psalm and canticle singing of this type can still be heard daily in many cathedrals.

Following this lead, we can deduce that the poetics of the Jubilate Agno, its random-seeming line structure, and its repeated invocation of prophets, animals, flowers, and gemstones, are derived from the Psalms of David. At the time Smart was writing, the form of sacred Hebrew poetry had recently been the subject of a study by Robert Lowth in De Sacra Poesi Hebraorum (1753). Smart knew the book and after emerging from his confinement approached Lowth to ask for academic support for the publication of his translations of the Psalms, on which he worked alongside the Jubilate Agno.

The popularity of the Psalms of David is based on their applicability to the situation of whoever reads or sings them. Although Smart wrote the Jubilate Agno in psalm form, the content often appears so intensely personal and so closely attached to the circumstances of his confinement that the sublime poetic language of Hebrew poetry seems odd and out of place. The second line of the pair that provides a high point in Benjamin Britten's musical setting Rejoice in the Lamb is a case in point.

Let Elkanah rejoice with Cymindis — the Lord illuminate us against the powers of darkness.

For the officers of the peace are at variance with me, and the watchman smites me with his staff.

Yet, as Karina Williamson points out in her edition of the poem (1984), Elkanah was the doorkeeper of the Ark, and Cymindis the night hawk. We might thus read from the "Let" line something about personal safety at night in London, and from the "For" line that Smart had suffered a beating at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect him. In this way, Smart reflects the words of the third collect (prayer) set for Evening Prayer, which reads:

Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord, and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night, for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

But Smart expresses his call to God for help in his own words and, in contrast to the writer of the Book of Common Prayer, in remembrance of his own personal situation.

The use of a personal viewpoint is noticeable throughout the poem and appears to be deliberate. However, it is not simply a quirk of the poet. It follows the practice of Smart's High Anglican congregation. In 1753 Smart had begun to attend service at St. George the Martyr in Queen Square, London. The church was opposite the house of John Sheeles, with whom Smart worked on several popular musical projects in the Marylebone Pleasure Gardens, and the two men were close friends of William Stukeley, the incumbent from 1747 to 1765. Stukeley and his congregation made up most of London's remaining "non-juring" High Anglicans. Non-jurors were originally characterized by their refusal to swear the oath of allegiance to William III and Mary II, who had replaced the Catholic King James II after the Glorious Revolution in 1689. This is not to say that Stukeley and his flock were crypto-Catholics, but rather that they strongly maintained the Catholic practice of passive obedience to divinely inspired authority. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the question of whose authority was divinely inspired had shifted its focus from the monarchy to which scriptures were the closest to those used by the first church, and who had the power to express their sublime religious truths. While the first of these questions remained a matter for debate, the second was answered emphatically: only an ordained minister could say the words of the services effectively.

Such an exclusive outlook might seem to overrule the possibility of private prayer, including the type of private devotion that is the Jubilate Agno. And in one sense it does. No prayers, according to this belief-system, could reach God without the intercession of an ordained minister. But recognition of this did not preclude devotees from preparing themselves for service, or maintaining their watch over their behavior after service, with prayers in their own words, when there was no minister to utter the divinely inspired formulas. The idea was to pray continuously — a practice begun by Robert Nelson (founder of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge), and explained in his A Companion to the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England (1704). It was a practice for which Smart was well known, as noted by his friends Samuel Johnson and Hester Thrale Piozzi. But, as Johnson said, Smart's praying was "not noxious to society," and since it was the common practice of the large congregation at St. George the Martyr, it should not be taken as a sign of religious mania.

Thus we can read the Jubilate Agno as Smart's preparation for, and self-maintenance outside, religious service. During his years in the asylum such preparation and self-maintenance might have gone on for some time, since there is no record of there being a chapel at the asylum in which he was kept after 1759, and there would be no Sunday outings to church from what amounted to a private prison. His poem, therefore, takes the form of a psalm, but is not itself a psalm, since it is personally and not divinely inspired. To return to the title, we may consequently gloss the decision to replace the word deo with agno as a reflection of Smart's belief-system. David can rejoice in God, since he writes with divine inspiration. Smart rejoices in the Lamb, which is an earthly reference to Jesus, who is the human form of God, from whom he gets his human inspiration.

The question of human inspiration is taken up in the first three lines of the Jubilate Agno:

Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues; give the glory to the Lord, and the Lamb.

Nations, and languages, and every Creature, in which is the breath of Life.

Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together.

For Smart, to praise God from a human perspective is to be alive, to breathe in: literally, to inspire. His method of worship is, therefore, everyday, secular, and material. You praise God merely by living and breathing. It is by the awareness of such all-but-unnoticed acts as breathing that one engages in self-examination and monitoring of one's actions. On the contrary, in Jubilate Deo we are divinely inspired: "it is he [God] that hath made us, and not we ourselves." Thus, the psalmist admonishes us to "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving," "For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting" (Ps. 100: 3-5). This is because divinely inspired "thanksgiving" allows the ordained speaker and his congregation directly to enter God's house (heaven) and receive his mercy. The divinely inspired may speak to and of God. The human must speak to and of the human, and out of human experience.

If all this seems rather a theological quibble to the modern reader, we might remember Alexander Pope's contemporary warning in his Essay on Man (1734): "Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; / The proper study of Mankind is Man" (ii. 1-2). The lines are consonant in theme and detail with Smart. Smart met Pope in 1742, two years before Pope's death, and took him as a model for his career as a poet.

Nevertheless, when we are confronted with the next three lines from Fragment A of the Jubilate Agno, Smart's "proper study of Mankind" still appears opaque:

Let Noah and his company approach the throne of Grace, and do homage to the Ark of their Salvation.

Let Abraham present a Ram, and worship the God of his Redemption.

Let Isaac, the Bridegroom, kneel with his Camels, and bless the hope of his pilgrimage.

However, if we consider another peculiarity of Smart's non-juring High Anglicanism, things become a little clearer. William Stukeley listed in his commonplace book a divine hierarchy, which reads: "Pater, Filius, Spiritus, Seraphim, Cherubim, Throm, Dominationon, Virtutos, Protostratos, Principatus, Archangeli, Angli (Gabriel,

Raphael), Lucifer, Beelzebub, Homo, Quadrupos, Serpens, Zoophyta, Pisces, Avos, Insecta, Ignis, Aor, Aqua, Metalla, Lapides." In this list we move without a break between the divine and the earthly, from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, through the ranks of archangels and angels (including the fallen angels, Lucifer and Beelzebub) directly to man, four-footed beasts, snakes, sensitive plants, fish, birds, insects, fire, air, water, metals and stones. In setting out this single sequence, Stukeley demonstrates a belief in an unbroken order of things. In turn, this requires a belief that everything is equally part of God's creation, and so important in its peculiar way. Stukeley himself was renowned for his "Vegetable Sermons," which he gave yearly at St. George the Martyr, financed by his father-in-law, a market gardener. Stukeley was also a cat-lover, and mentions several feline friends in his diaries.

Against this background, Smart's repeated call to prophets and other people to stand forth and praise God with an animal, a plant, or a gemstone does not seem so odd. Remembering his line A3, "Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together," we can conclude that for Smart, as for Stukeley, all things created had their specific qualities, and it is these qualities that each line connects with the prophet or person named.

Thus, taking the first of the lines quoted above, "Noah's company" will refer to the pairs of animals rescued from the flood on Noah's Ark, the vast zoo-ship. Their quality as a group lies in the name of their ship, the Ark, which Smart notes ana-chronistically as "the Ark of their Salvation." Literally, the Ark was the vehicle that saved them from the flood, but, as Karina Williamson notes, "in Christian typology Noah's ark prefigures salvation through Christ." Her reference is to the Gospel of St. Matthew 24: 37, in which we read: "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." That is, the Old Testament story of Noe [Noah] and his Ark full of animals is used in the New Testament as a metaphor for Christ and the gathering of people whom he saves. The particular quality of the Ark of animals is their having been saved by coming together under one roof at the bidding of God. From their example, readers could learn that they too need to be saved by joining together at "the throne of Grace . . . [to] do homage." Smart is writing in his own words, rather than repeating the divinely inspired words of the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer, in order that people could learn, outside divine service, from the example of the animals in Noah's Ark.

From the general we move to the specific in the next line of the passage quoted above (A5), where Abraham is paired with a ram. Smart's reference here is to Genesis 22, where Abraham is tempted by God's command to sacrifice to him his only son, Isaac, the child of his late years. In the story, an angel of the Lord intercedes just as Abraham is about to kill his son on an altar built on a mountain top, and shows him a ram caught in a thicket by its horns: "and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for the burnt offering in the stead of his son" (22: 13). The quality of the ram caught by its horns is its masculine pride, which has brought about its downfall. Through this, Smart draws attention to the point of the story. Abraham, who wanted a son more than anything, became a victim to his masculine pride — the pride of being a founder of a new generation - and so God asked for the life of his son, the sign of this pride. Abraham was just like the ram, caught by the symbol of his masculinity: the horns for the ram, a son for the man. What the reader may learn from the line is that to achieve redemption, one must confront one's innermost motives. In the case of Abraham, God's temptation is meant to make him ask whether Isaac is important for his own sake, or is to be sacrificed at the altar of his father's pride. In the case of the reader, the lesson is to ask the same question of anything for which one has yearned and that has finally been granted. Is it wanted for its own sake, or as a sign of personal pride?

The third line of the sequence from the quote above (A6) demonstrates the "vertical" relationships between lines. We move from Abraham to Isaac, the beloved son, who as Bridegroom is paired with camels. The story of Isaac that provides the reference to his marriage and the camels (Genesis 24 and 25) also tells of Abraham's reward for accepting his son for his own sake (from A5). Old and on the point of dying, Abraham sent his servant back to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. The servant took ten camels with him as a gift for the family from which the bride was chosen. The servant chose Rebekah, since she offered water to him and the camels. The quality of the camels, to which the line draws attention, lies in the generosity of Abraham in giving them for the benefit of his son. The story shows that Abraham has learned his lesson, and now accepts Isaac for who he is, not merely as a sign of his fatherly masculine pride. Abraham's reward comes after Isaac is married, when he, who before was on the point of dying, marries again, and has six more sons: that is, he founds a new generation. Nevertheless, in remembrance of his former pride, he leaves all he has to Isaac.

From the analysis of these three lines we can see a development of the lessons which may be learned. We are taught how to read the lines in A4, that is, we are told we must bring Old Testament lessons up to date and use them as metaphors for contemporary problems. In A5 we are given a specific lesson about pride, and in A6 we find out how we are rewarded for following the rule. But this does not exhaust the meaning of the lines. We might equally well read A6 to have a contemporary reference to Smart's own situation.

To have been spirited away into an asylum without a lengthy court case, Smart must have been incarcerated at the command of a senior member of his family. I have argued elsewhere that this was most likely to have been his father-in-law, the publisher John Newbery. Thus, another reading of the line would have Smart as the bridegroom, since he was married to John Newbery's step-daughter Anna Maria Carnan, an act which indirectly caused his incarceration. In this case, the quality of the camel that was being expressed would be that this animal can survive without water for a long time. A lesson might therefore be learned by Smart himself from the camel. While he was on his "pilgrimage" in the asylum he had no chance of going to church for spiritual refreshment; so he must learn from the camel's ability for self-refreshment.

Indeed, there are at least two contextual ways to read each line of Jubilate Agno, one from biblical reference, and the other from contemporary reference. The interplay between them is read most easily with reference to the "horizontal" relationships between the "Let" and "For" lines of the poem. If we turn to Fragment B, lines 3 and 4, we can see the way in which the biblical and contemporary become inextricably linked.

Let Shelumiel rejoice with Olor, who is of a goodly savour, and the very look of him harmonizes the mind.

For my existimation is good even amongst the slanderers and my memory shall arise for a sweet savour unto the Lord.

Let Jael rejoice with the Plover, who whistles for his live, and foils the marksmen and their guns.

For I bless the PRINCE of PEACE and pray that all the guns may be nail'd up, save such as are for the rejoicing days.

Williamson's notes direct us to the biblical links between Shelumiel and Olor, the Latin word for swan. Shelumiel was noted in Numbers 7: 38 for the sacrificial offering to the temple of a spoon of ten shekels' weight, full of incense. The quality of the swan, which brings about the connection with Shelumiel, is an internal pun between its Latin name, olor, and the Latin for "to smell" or "a smell," olere. Incense smells when burned, and the name of the swan also suggests smell. Smart then connects Shelumiel and the swan, with the idea that to look at a swan can harmonize the mind, which, presumably, is the same reason for Shelumiel's incense sacrifice to God. The internal pun on the Latin word for "swan" combines the two ways to peace of mind.

The paired "For" line gives a contemporary reference to Smart and his captivity, but to understand it we must find out the meaning of the neologism "existimation." The "horizontal" reference with the "Let" line we have just discussed gives us the method for working it out: like olor/olere it is an internal pun. If we break up the word "existimation" into its components, we find "estimation" and "exist." Reading the rest of the line with this in mind, we can deduce that Smart is anxious that his reputation (the "estimation" in which people hold him) would survive (continue to "exist") despite the slander that put him in the madhouse. The addition of the clause "my memory shall arise for a sweet savour unto the Lord" reminds us of the olor I olere Latin pun. It also draws our attention to the fact that the Latin word existimatio, from which Smart has created the neologism, means "reputation." The double reference would seem to guarantee the fact that we are correct in our reading of the line.

In the second pair of lines, the contemporary reference to Smart's imprisonment is much stronger. The "Let" line connects Jael with the whistling plover. Once again, we find a common quality — in this case, subterfuge — between the biblical character and the animal. Jael used subterfuge to kill Sisera. She called him into her tent when he was escaping from the Israelite army, saying he would be safe; but while he was asleep there, she killed him by knocking a nail through his temple (Judges 4). Likewise, as Williamson notes, the whistling plover is known for its subterfuge, in the form of aerobatics, which make it an elusive target for guns.

The "For" line requires detailed knowledge of contemporary history. Just before the date on which the line was written, Britain celebrated the double felicity of the twenty-first birthday of Prince George of Wales (who became George III the next year) and the birth of his son (who died in infancy). The celebrations, comprising military parades and other shows of martial strength, were noted in the newspapers (especially the London Gazette) throughout June 1759. However, the same papers also printed proclamations that not enough volunteers had joined the militia or navy to supply the army for the Seven Years War (1756—63). One such proclamation was made by the Earl of Darlington, Henry Vane, who had been Smart's benefactor while he was at Cambridge University. The fact that it was dated from Raby Castle, where Smart spent his youth, must have been particularly poignant.

The "Let" line, and the pair of lines that precede it, reflect these events — with reference, moreover, to the reason for Smart's incarceration, namely, political journalism in favor of William Pitt. The Seven Years War was a disaster for the weak Prime Minister, the Duke of Newcastle, and by 1757 Pitt had assumed power. From as early as 1751, Smart had run a stage show and associated magazine (called "Mrs. Mary Midnight's Concert and Oratory," and The Midwife) which disseminated a covert anti-Newcastle message. On many occasions Mary Midnight urged action against Spain and France, and ridiculed the ministry of Newcastle and his brother Henry Pelham. But anti-government propaganda was dangerous. Furthermore, the theater licensing laws meant that it was impossible to perform political plays. To get around official censorship, Smart resorted to the subterfuge of presenting a joke musical, in which spoof musical items (such as Signor Bombasto, who played a broomstick with a cello bow) were interspersed with long introductions that were vehicles for satire of current political events.

Thus we have the quality of "subterfuge" returning in the "For" line, which, in turn, inverts the line's apparent meaning.

For I bless the PRINCE of PEACE and pray that all the guns may be nail'd up, save such as are for the rejoicing.

Smart apparently shows approval for the military elements of the celebrations for the birth of the new prince, and the birthday of his father. However, the reference to the guns being nailed up suggests (by reference to the connection made in the "Let" line between nails and subterfuge) that this show of strength might be itself a subterfuge, since it belied the actual fact of the army being unable to reach its full complement. The satirical attack on people's refusal to fight does not erase the straightforward meaning of the line: a hope for peace, when guns can be locked away. However, it remains possible that Smart was also jokingly suggesting that the army, in its reduced strength, would have to employ the subterfuge of the plover to avoid the gunfire of the enemy and win the war.

A polymath such as Smart was never short of topics on which to write, even when short of books to read; he was always able to keep his mind active with current problems. One such problem was the recent news of the atheism of Sir Isaac Newton's scientific method. In his inimitable way, Smart approached the problem of Newton and religion from the point of view of his cat, Jeoffry.

It can be no surprise that the High Anglican Smart was cautious about accepting the views of Sir Isaac Newton in the light of the revelation about his unorthodoxy. He makes ambivalent mention of the scientist three times in the Jubilate Agno:

For CHASTITY is the key to knowledge as in Esdras, Sr Isaac Newton and now, God be praised, in me.

For Newton nevertheless is more of error than of truth, but I am of the WORD of GOD.

Let Barsabas rejoice with Cammarus — Newton is ignorant for if a man consult not the Word how should he understand the work?

After the affirmation of B194 that they share the key to knowledge, Smart's use of the comparative "more of error" in B195 nevertheless suggests that there might be an element of truth still to be found in Newton's work. The supposition is confirmed by the first part of B220. Cammarus is a kind of sea-crab, shrimp, or prawn. The reference to it in Pliny displays its peculiar quality. In his Natural History Pliny describes the shape of the root of the aconite plant as "like the Cammarus." Typically, the section on aconite describes its use as a remedy; however, as the plant is highly toxic, Pliny prefixes his statement with some words of assurance: "there is no evil without some admixture of good . . ." Thus the shellfish-like shape of the aconite root mutely indicates that the plant has a beneficial use beneath its "carapace" of poison. In the same way, Newton may have some evil ideas, but some good is mixed in with them.

To Smart, Newton's evil lay in his famous argument against the Trinity and the divinity of Christ in his Two Letters to Mr. Le Clerc, which were published posthumously in 1754. In the first of these, Newton argued the Arian heresy (that is, Christ was not divine) against the Athanasian orthodoxy of the Anglican Church, on the grounds that the Greek Testaments were altered by Tertullian, Cyprian, and Jerome on translation into Latin. He pointed out that "by the unanimous consent of all the ancient and faithful interpreters, which we have hitherto met with (who doubtless made use of the best Manuscripts they could get) the Testimony of 'the Three in Heaven' was not anciently in the Greek." Newton's denial of the Trinity takes the form of eighty pages of closely argued textual scholarship and bears witness to the claim that he was an "excellent Divine." However, it required sight of particular books and bibles in libraries from all over Europe to demonstrate the inconsistencies in various editors' marginalia. As there is no evidence that Newton ever traveled to see the books he cited, Smart's comment that "Newton is ignorant" may refer to the fact that he did not "consult . . . the Word": that is, have empirical proof, from the annotated texts themselves, of the assertions he made. The importance of having direct access is borne out by Smart's dislike of accented Greek:

For the ACCENTS are the invention of the Moabites, who learning the GREEK tongue marked the words after their own vicious pronuntiation.

Newton used accents, and based the argument of his second letter to Le Clerc, that Christ is not divine, on a misreading of an accent in the first letter of Timothy:

What the Latins have done for the Text of the First Epistle of Saint John, v.7. the Greeks have done to that of St. Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, iii.16. For by changing o into Qc, the Abbreviation of Theos, they now read, "Great is the Mistery of Godliness: God was manifest in the Flesh." Whereas all the Churches for the first four or five hundred years; and the authors of all the ancient versions, Jerome as well as the rest, read "Great is the Mistery of Godliness, which was manifested in the Flesh."

The misreading could not occur in the unaccented Greek which Smart preferred, and the divinity of Christ would not be doubted had the texts Newton studied followed this preference. The first portion of the line B220 which denounces Newton, "Let Bar-sabas rejoice with Cammarus -," adds to the suggestion that Smart thought Newton wrong in his belief that Jesus is not divine. Barsabas was the surname of Joseph (or Judas or Justus) who was chosen, with Matthias, to be ordained as an apostle, being a witness to Christ's resurrection in Acts 1: 23.

Stukeley, if he knew of it, was undeterred by Newton's Arianism and located modern science within the Mosaic Bible following the non-disjunctive hierarchy we saw above:

When we look at the Works of the Hebrew Lawgiver particularly the First Chapter of Genesis, if it be not the oldest Writing in the World yet it must needs be acknowledgd the first & only one that gives an exact & intelligible, a strictly Philosophical Account of the Generation of the World & all the Creatures in it, Moses cannot be accounted less than Gods Natures Secretary. who admires not the plainness & yet the Majesty of his Narration, the Dignity of his Stile the Conciseness of his Expression peculiar to the Easterns, being we are assured tis dictated from the Same Spirit that made the World, its Veracity is unquestionable the most genuine & natural Account of the Great Truths it delivers cannot be accounted any less than most pure & incorrupt streams issuing from the fountain of all knowledg. Here is the Original Source of True philosophy The Oracle of Nature The Springhead of knowledge Where Those that thirst after the Newtonian Draughts may drink largely at the Fountain.

The elision between Newton and Moses was possible since, for Stukeley, no separation existed between the divine and the created worlds. In this view, it was senseless to argue that Christ is or is not divine. His theology enabled him to accept Newton, and to remain true to the Trinitarian orthodoxy of the Church of England. Likewise, Smart wrote in Jubilate Agno that he was trying to "defend the philosophy of scripture against vain deceit" by being "inquisitive of the Lord" (B130). Thus, we may see Smart rescuing part of Newton's work in a Stukelian model of the universe where Christ is the begotten aspect of the divine.

We can see Smart's begrudging adoption of Newton's empiricism as he reintegrates it into his form of Christianity in the extended section on his cat, Jeoffry. These lines derive from Smart's empirical experience as they tell us of Jeoffry's daily behavior. Empirically, Jeoffry wakes (B698), washes himself (B702—10), meets other cats (B714), catches mice (B715—16), and plays (B746—8). Smart also uses Jeoffry for experiments with electricity (B760), but these observations are punctuated by references to the divine. Thus Jeoffry wakes:

For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.

Jeoffry washes himself:

For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.

Then Jeoffry goes out into the world:

For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.

The cat's morning routine is given meaning by its complementary relationship with God:

For he knows that God is his Saviour.

Simple empiricism is not enough, however, to complete the meaning of all Jeoffry's actions. The inductions from observation need to be redeemed by spiritual deduction: the human and his cat are qualified by the divine. However, access to the divine language is not possible; thus the observations of Jeoffry are set against a series of satellite references to cats in classics and mythology from which to deduce his "catness":

For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.

For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.

For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.

Thus, as in Stukeley's references between the Bible and classical philosophers, other earthly sources or languages are also employed to guarantee the empirical observation.

In this essay, we have seen how Smart's poetry works contextually, from the level of the line to references between lines and, finally, to whole sections that discuss larger topics. What is most important about this method of reading Smart's Jubilate Agno is that we approach it from the point of view that the meanings and references of every word need to be traced back to their likely sources. These may be contemporary, biblical, or scientific, and only when a number of the sources have been discovered will the complexities of the lines become clearer. If space permitted we could look further into the poem to see how whole fragments (in particular Fragment C) produce meaning on an even grander scale. What is perhaps the most startling aspect of the poem is how it teaches the reader the methods of its own decipherment; but this demands careful study of each line. And there is still plenty more work to be done.

See also chs. 4, "Poetry and Religion"; 5, "Poetic Enthusiasm."

References and Further Reading

Curry, N. (2005). Christopher Smart. Horndon, Essex: Northcote.

Devlin, C. (1961). Poor Kit Smart. London: Rupert Hart-Davis.

Guest, Harriet (1989). A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart. Oxford: Clarendon.

Feder, L. (1980). Madness in Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hawes, C., ed. (2000). Christopher Smart and the Enlightenment. New York: St. Martin's.

Mounsey, Chris (2001). Christopher Smart: Clown of God. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press; London: Associated University Presses.

Rizzo, B., and Mahony, R. (1984). Christopher Smart: An Annotated Bibliography, 1743—1983. New York: Garland. Rizzo, B., and Mahony, R., eds. (2001). The Annotated Letters of Christopher Smart. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Sherbo, A. (1967). Christopher Smart: Scholar of the University. Lansing: East Michigan University Press.

Smart, Christopher (1979-86). The Poetical Works of Christopher Smart, 6 vols., ed. Karina Williamson and Marcus Walsh. Oxford: Clarendon.

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