David: Old Adam to New

O David, scholar of the Lord!
Such is thy science, whence reward,
And infinite degree;
O strength, O sweetness, lasting ripe!
God’s harp thy symbol, and thy type
The lion and the bee!

There is but One who ne’er rebelled,
But One by passion unimpelled,
By pleasures unenticed;
He from himself hath semblance sent,
Grand object of his own content,
And saw the God in Christ.

Tell them, I AM, Jehovah said
To Moses; while earth heard in dread,
And, smitten to the heart,
At once above, beneath, around,
All Nature, without voice or sound,
Replied, ‘O Lord, THOU ART.’

Thou art—to give and to confirm,
For each his talent and his term;
All flesh thy bounties share:
Thou shalt not call thy brother fool:
The porches of the Christian school
Are meekness, peace, and prayer.

Open and naked of offence,
Man’s made of mercy, soul, and sense:
God armed the snail and wilk;
Be good to him that pulls thy plough;
Due food and care, due rest allow
For her that yields thee milk.

Rise up before the hoary head,
And God’s benign commandment dread,
Which says thou shalt not die:
‘Not as I will, but as Thou wilt,’
Prayed He, whose conscience knew no guilt;
With Whose blessed pattern vie.

Use all thy passions! love is thine,
And joy and jealousy divine;
Thine hope’s eternal fort,
And care thy leisure to disturb,
With fear concupiscence to curb,
And rapture to transport.

Act simply, as occasion asks;
Put mellow wine in seasoned casks;
Till not with ass and bull:
Remember thy baptismal bond;
Keep thy commixtures foul and fond,
Nor work thy flax with wool.

Distribute; pay the Lord His tithe,
And make the widow’s heart-strings blithe;
Resort with those that weep:
As you from all and each expect,
For all and each thy love direct,
And render as you reap.

The slander and its bearer spurn,
And propagating praise sojourn
To make thy welcome last;
Turn from old Adam to the New:
By hope futurity pursue:
Look upwards to the past.

Control thine eye, salute success,
Honour the wiser, happier bless,
And for their neighbour feel;
Grutch not of mammon and his leaven,
Work emulation up to heaven
By knowledge and by zeal.


(extract: A Song To David)



by Christopher Smart (c. 1760)

One comment on “David: Old Adam to New

  1. colonialist says:

    Smart writing, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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